The Last Post 2017 Tv Show Series Review Impelreport
The scriptwriter Peter Moffat harvests his memories to make drama. North Square, Criminal Justice and Silk drew on his time as a barrister.
The setting is Aden (now Yemen), where the military police keep the peace in desert fatigues. As ever with these things, we were shown around via the eyes of newcomers. Captain Joe Martin (Jeremy Neumark Jones) and his new bride Honor (Jessie Buckley, who was so good in War and Peace) arrived to find Alison Laithwaite, the alcoholic wife of an officer, sprawled all over their bed.
Alison (Jessica Raine, rather overdoing it) is Aden’s resident sardonic miseryguts. She does other transgressive things like have an affair and hang her bra up on a very public washing line. Her husband (the ubiquitous Stephen Campbell Moore), meanwhile, isn’t one of the boys: he harbours an unfashionable desire to understand the Arabic-speaking locals. “I think torture is the best recruiting sergeant for terrorists,” he said, as if teleporting himself to Abu Ghraib in 2003.
But do we actually need a drama about our record in the colonies? In order to appeal to a broad demographic, The Last Post has to interrogate British history while peopling the screen with likeable characters and offering insights into contemporary geopolitics. These goals felt drastically incompatible and the outcome was a parade of heavy-handed ironies and odd implausibilities.
Take the young son of the major (Ben Miles), presumably Moffat’s sort of alter ego: the small boy had a penchant for using the F-gerund which went oddly unpunished. Weirdly, none of the women got up to greet Honor when she arrived.
Then at the end of the episode, the exhausted survivor of an attack staggered into camp. “You’re late,” said Captain Martin. “Very late.” There’s British understatement, and there’s wildly improbable dialogue.