‘Hustle’: Series 8 Episode 4 review

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As the BBC’s long-running con drama comes to an end, Hustle still manages to attract the big names and this week sees features a turn from Mr Larger-Than-Life himself, John Barrowman.

It sometimes gets overlooked, but Barrowman does do acting from time to time. His shiny television personality does somewhat override the fact that the Scottish American possesses skills in this department. Sadly, this role doesn’t rely on them.

Playing cheesy salesman Dr Dean Deville (Barrowman is finally The Doctor!), most of his role involves the Torchwood star reveling in his presenter persona; delivering every line as JOHN! BARROWMAN! (Albeit with a slightly different accent.) Aptly, though, this matches the tone of the show.

Oddly enough, fellow singer, and I’d Do Anything winner, Jodie Prenger makes an appearance as friend of the regulars, Carol. She does a fine job and her performance is certainly less marked than this week’s other guest character Dr Dana Deville, played by Raquel Cassidy (Lead Balloon).

Sadly, Cassidy’s acting talents, so perfectly shown in BBC Two’s Party Animals, are also unused. The campness of the show has heightened her performance and the actress has adopted a terrible American accent to top it off.

Mickey (Adrian Lester) and his chums, unusually, are on the trail of the Devilles who have a sham diet plan that caused their buddy Carol (Prenger) to have a heart attack. Cue revenge plot – a plot so convoluted and reliant on chance that credibility is not a word even whispered.

But this is Hustle after all, it’s not meant to be believed.

As Hustle episodes go, this is par for the course. It’s a gaudy, loud mess where the performances wouldn’t look out of place in a Guildford theatre during December. It’s a romp, a lark, a bit of a laugh. Thank goodness it’s coming to an end.

Airs at 9pm on Friday 3rd February 2012 on BBC One.

> Buy the Series 1-7 boxset on Amazon.

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