Thursday 14 October 2010

McKinstry and The Mentalist

Leo McKinstry's column in today's Express ran with the headline:

The intro to the article says:

Move over Morse. Columbo, hang up that raincoat. Shut it, Sherlock. There’s a new TV detective on the prowl. LEO McKINSTRY is bowled over by 'The Mentalist'...

The Mentalist? Really?

Yes, although the rest of that sentence might help explain why:

LEO McKINSTRY is bowled over by 'The Mentalist', which returns to Channel Five tomorrow.

Ah. It's a programme broadcast on Channel Five which is owned, like the Express, by Richard Desmond.

What a coincidence.

McKinstry is gushing in his praise throughout this shameless puff-piece:

But there has never been a maverick in the crime genre quite like Patrick Jane, the hero of the US TV series The Mentalist, which returns for its third season on Channel Five tomorrow.

That's just in case you didn't catch when the new series starts when it was mentioned three paragraphs before.

And it just goes on and on:

Until the arrival of The Mentalist I had always thought that Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes was in a league of his own as the ultimate TV crime-solver.


The Mentalist is completely different to anyone who has gone before.


So striking are Patrick’s powers of perception he could be taken for a mind-reader.


The Mentalist has a host of other qualities that enhance his appeal, such as his rich sense of humour, reflected in the wide smile. Again this contrasts with the innate grumpiness that seems to characterise so many detectives.


Another crucial ingredient that [write Bruno] Heller provides is a tremendous sense of narrative power.

And the final paragraph:

As series three starts there is a dark sense of foreboding, eerily similar to Sherlock Holmes’s fateful battle against Professor Moriarty, which ended with both of them plunging to their doom at Reichenbach Falls. Whatever the final outcome for the Mentalist it will make gripping television.

In all, the Express has devoted just under 1,200 words to plug a programme on Channel Five.

According to the Express website, McKinstry has written 84 articles for the paper this year, the overwhelming majority of which are about politics. This is the first one devoted to a single television programme.

Of course, it is entirely possible that McKinstry genuinely believes The Mentalist is this good.

But given he writes two columns a week for the Express, it seems odd that he doesn't appear to have mentioned it at any time during the previous two series.

The two series broadcast on Channel Five before Desmond owned it.


  1. In all fairness, The Mentalist is rather entertaining.

  2. I can't hear the term 'mentalist' without thinking of Steve Coogan:

    Great blog, btw... the spineless and ineffective PCC would be laughable if it wasn't a national shame

  3. Another Crass Express front page advert for five today (20/10/10):


    So, mass job losses, lots of people affected, lives potentially turned up-side-down, many of them probably Express readers.

    Right above that headline:


    Very sympathetic, seeing as how the Express and it's tory-biased slant helped these cuts come about!


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