Hustle season 8 episode 2


I don't know about art, etc...


3 and a half stars



The Hustle team return for series 8


Air date: UK: 20 Jan 2012, BBC1, 9pm


Last week's season opener was a classically structured Hustle episode, even if it was one of the weaker ones. Thankfully, episode two shakes up the formula a little.


Martin Kemp's gang in Hustle

A Picasso has been stolen, so the gang see an opportunity to mock up a fake and sell it to an interested party. Except the target they choose is the man it was nicked from. And given that he thinks the Hustle crew have the real thing, they have two hours to get it, or Mickey's fingers and toes are coming off.


The running around after the real thing then brings in Martin Kemp's sociopathic and upwardly mobile mobster and a couple of Glaswegian art thieves, as canny with their selling of the painting (they've also knocked up a couple of fakes to maximise their sales) as Mickey's boys.


This episode marks Adrian Lester's directorial debut, so it's understandably Mickey-lite (he spends most of the episode in the boot of a car) and so Ash takes centre stage for most of this one.


Not since the Lester-less season four has Mickey felt so absent, and it's a nice change to see someone else calling the shots.


Sheila Hancock in Hustle

It's a bit of a farce episode, well helmed by Lester who keeps the pace energetic, but perhaps all played a little too lightly. Apart from a short scene of Kemp threatening a rival with a machete, he's a pretty cuddly and harmless psycho for much of this, and, consequently, there's no real sense of peril.


Kemp hasn't much to do here, except what he's hired for, which is to do a bit of Reggie Kray and a bit of Steve Owen.


But best of all is Sheila Hancock's guest turn as a dotty forger with the hots for Sean. In an episode that's frequently threatening to turn into an out and out comedy, her bits are the only genuinely funny ones.


Not a perfect episode, but a stronger one than last week's.


Callum Smith



Hustle season 8 episode 2
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