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The Bay series 3 review

Episodes: 6

Premiered: 2022

Duration: 45 min

DS Jenn Townsend, Morecambe’s new Family Liaison Officer, is immediately thrown into the deep end when a body washes up in the bay on her first day on the job. She must get under the skin of a grieving and complicated family if she has any chance of solving the premature death of an aspiring young boxer.

While she’s eager to give the family answers, she also needs to prove herself as the team’s newest recruit. The pressure is multiplied when her new blended family struggle to settle in Morecambe, proving to Jenn that a fresh start might not be as simple as moving to a different town.

Daniel Ryan (Innocent, Home Fires), Erin Shanagher (Viewpoint, Peaky Blinders), Thomas Law (The Worlds End, A Cinderella Story) and Andrew Dowbiggin (Cobra, Coronation Street) reprise their roles alongside the new lead, Marsha Thomason, following Morven Christie’s decision to leave the show after two series.

Here’s Steve Charnock’s episode-by-episode The Bay series 3 review.

The Bay series 3 episode 1 review

The first day in any new job can be tricky, can’t it? You don’t really know anyone, you’re unfamiliar with exactly what’s required of you and you’ve no idea how the coffee machine works.

DS Jenn Townsend (Lost‘s Marsha Thomason) never even got a chance to put a pot plant on her desk or spend an hour on the phone to IT trying to get her emails set up before she found herself thrown into a murder investigation here in this third series of The Bay. Still, unless you’re on your very first swimming lesson at the local lido, there’s nothing wrong with being thrown in the deep end.

Thomason’s Townsend replaces the central character who so ably carried the first two runs of ITV’s popular Morecambe-set crime drama. After two series in the thick of it, Morven Christie decided to step aside. Inside of recasting DS Lisa Armstrong, the show’s head writer Daragh Carville opted to write her out and replace her with an entirely new character. Enter DS Townsend.

Now, normally, a new colleague would prefer to spend a couple of days getting to know the team while filling in a few HR forms and leaving at 4pm. That may well have been the case here but for a pesky corpse popping up in the bay.

The opening scene of episode 1 is impressive, with a woman dramatically getting her leg caught in some rope at a bhoy while out sea swimming. You assume we’re going to watch her tragically drown. Instead, she wriggles free. Just as the bloated body of Saif Rahman unexpectedly bobs up above the surface of the briny water.

Co-written by Furquan Akhtar, it looks as though this third series is set to follow the Rahman family as they try to come to terms with the death of middle son Saif, a popular local boxer. There’s edgy mum Mariam (Rina Mahoney), sweet, deaf younger brother Jamal (played by deaf actor Nadeem Islam) and trouble-making older sibling Adnan (Michael Karim). With, of course, a whole host of other characters in and around the investigation, some of whom we’re yet to meet.

Jenn is, of course, assigned as the FLO (Family Liaison Officer) to the Rahmans; it’ll be her job to look after the family while subtly probing away until a killer is found. Which, as ever, will be in episode 6.

Eagle-eyed viewers may recognise the new star of The Bay from her appearances in British dramas such as ITV’s Safe House, Where the Heart Is or Pie in the Sky, while fans of telly from across the pond might have seen her in Bones, NCIS: Los Angeles, or the new Magnum: PI. Marsha Thomason is a very able actress that has seemingly had to wait a fair while to bag a star turn. Based on this opener, she’ll have no issues stepping in for the departed Morven Christie here.

As for the quality of the series, there’s no discernible dip here with this third outing. Okay, we’re not venturing into groundbreaking territory here, but that’s not what the series is really about. A cynic may label it a fairly formulaic drama, but police procedurals often are. Yet while we’re hitting familiar marks, we’re also doing so with plenty of style and the odd flash of distinction.

When we reviewed the first series back in 2019, we described The Bay rather reductively as a ‘Morecambe Broadchurch’. It’s a tempting tag, for sure. While everyone involved seems happy enough with the inevitable comparison, the drama has established something of a personality of its own – just not a hugely unique one. Still, we’ll be only too happy to revisit it every Wednesday night for the next five weeks.

Did you tune in for The Bay series 3 episode 1? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Read Steve’s review of The Bay series 3 episode 2 here.

Enjoying The Bay series 3? Give one of these books a try…

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

4 Comments

    I really don’t love the new FLO actress or the storyline of season 3.

    Nothing like previous series, left me disappointed which was a shame but watched until the end. If another series is made not sure if I would be interested. 6 episodes of a plot that could of been done in less episodes and a better plot.

    Very, very slow Watching episode 5 and very little has happened. Dragging out a very limited story over 6 episodes.

    Third series as a whole was a disappointment Far too predictable and as far as the police family story was concerned I normally love @ bit of sentiment but it was just too cheesie for words

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The Bay series 3 episode 2 review

Still catching up on The Bay series 3 episode 2? Read Steve’s review of episode 1 here.

There’s a knock at the door. You answer it. It’s two very serious-looking police officers. They want to ask you a few questions in relation to the murder of someone you know. You’re shocked. ‘Murder?!’ you ask. ‘Come in,’ you tell them. You appear to be open, honest and frank with them both. They thank you for your time and leave.

But what’s this? As they return to their car, you walk to the window, disturb the net curtain and peek outside. As you peer at them, a worried look washes over your face. If anyone saw that they might think you looked a little guilty…

Still, so long as you aren’t guilty, you had no reason to lie to the detectives, did you? Except, what’s this? The next day they’re back. This time they’re even more serious looking. They have more questions for you – and you need to answer them down the station. ‘Am I under arrest?’ you ask. ‘Not at all, you’re free to leave at any time,’ you’re informed. They just want to ask you a few questions about your statement yesterday. About why you lied…

In real police murder investigations, the only real motivation for lying is to try and away with having committed the crime. In TV police murder investigations, there are twelve million different reasons to deceive officers and make yourself look like a suspect for half an episode.

We’re not subtly criticising The Bay here – it’s something we see time and time again from TV crime dramas. Vera is the absolute master of the trope and we still love it. Five people are interviewed; it turns out they all lied. But for various reasons of their own, all of which throw a spanner in the works, obfuscate the investigation and implicate themselves.

Here, in episode 2 of this third series of ITV’s Morecambe-set drama, it’s victim Saif Rahman’s girlfriend Molly who tells porkie pies and gets found out. It transpires that she and Saif had an explosive argument on the night he died. But at 5’1” and about seven stone, it seems unlikely that she beat the local champion boxer to death.

Saif’s brother Adnan also lied to police about his alibi. But at least we’ve ruled out the obvious red herring of Jordan Rooney and his gang of idiot pals.

Could his younger brother Jamal be involved? Well, we doubt it. Saif’s deaf sibling seems sweet and genuinely distraught. He is acting a little suspiciously, though. And, let’s be fair, the lad doesn’t exactly look like a sixth former. He’s huge and with that five o’clock shadow, he looks more like the headmaster. The reason? The actor who plays him, Nadeem Islam, is twenty-five years old.

The scene of the murder has been established: outside the boxing club, near the bins. Not a nice place to take your final breath.

This return of The Bay is welcome; it’s a well made drama. True, it can slip into slightly soap-y territory with some of its dialogue and melodrama and it’s not afraid of the odd cliche, but there are some nice touches sprinkled throughout.

By all accounts, its representation of British Sign Language is very accurate, and it was good to see the issue of post-mortems and Islam dealt with sensitively, as well as a mention of the option of digital scans as an alternative. Perhaps the first time it’s been discussed in a prime-time television drama.

There was one glaring error we just have to point out here, though… Okay, it’s pedantry. But DS Townsend had to leave in the middle of preparing dinner for her and her young family to attend to an incident with Adnan – a fight which happened in a busy nightclub. Either she feeds her family at 1am, or the youngsters of West Lancashire go out powerfully early.

DS Jenn Townsend’s character is still finding her feet, so it’s tempting to say that the series is missing Morwen Christie’s DS Lisa Armstrong. We’re sure, though, that this won’t be an issue in a few weeks’ time.

Hopefully by that point we’ll have a better handle on who the killer might be too. And maybe even why everyone keeps fibbing to the police all the ruddy time.

Did you tune in for The Bay series 3 episode 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Read Steve’s review of The Bay series 3 episode 3 here.

Enjoying The Bay series 3? Give one of these books a try…

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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The Bay series 3 episode 3 review

Still catching up on The Bay series 3 episode 3? Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.

One of the most impressive things about The Bay is its attention to detail. Its story, setting, character and style are all quite familiar. We wouldn’t go so far as to call the series generic or formulaic, but it’s not exactly groundbreaking. That’s never really a problem, so long as the crime dramas we watch are well made, we’re happy. What we really appreciate here is the show’s accuracy with specifics.

Last week saw an unusual mention of Islam’s tenets around post-mortems and burials. Not as a plot device, but as a genuine concern and topic for conversation. Jenn presented a solution in the form of a digital scan autopsy, a new technology that’s rarely discussed on TV. Then there’s the portrayal of one of the main characters, the deaf sixth former Jamal. The British Sign Language seen on screen is – according to pleased deaf viewers on social media – impeccable.

Even the small things are well observed. The precision around discussing ‘anabolic steroids’ (and not just ‘steroids’) feels deliberate and yet quite natural. This is all thanks to considered writing.

Speaking of which, Jamal had a line here in episode 3 which really stood out. He’s telling Karen about how invisible he feels at home… ‘They think because I can’t hear, I don’t listen.’ It’s these kinds of touches that can elevate a series like The Bay.

This third part sees Morecambe newcomer DS Jenn Townsend (Marsha Thomason) and the team continue their investigation into the death of local boxer Saif Rahman. Beaten to death outside his gym and dumped in the bay, we learn that he was using ‘PEDs’ – performance-enhancing drugs. Apparently winning his next bout was vital. Perhaps there’s some shady betting or criminal involvement in the fight.

Supplying the PEDs was Warren Pryce (Mark Stanley), who’s already lied to the police once. We know the murder occurred at the club, so he’s under some suspicion. As is Saif’s former sparring partner Ritchie Ford (Paddy Rowan).

Who’s also a little shifty looking? Well, Saif’s mum’s partner Ray continues to unsettle us every time he’s on screen. Although maybe that’s because he’s played by Vincent Regan and Vincent Regan is good at giving unsettling looks.

We’re also fairly convinced that Saif’s on/off girlfriend, schoolgirl Molly, knows more than she’s letting on. Plus that mystery train ride Jamal took earlier in the series is yet to be addressed. We’ll have to wait and see how those plot threads tie up.

We ended on something of a shocker. Adnan Rahman (Michael Karim) is a nice enough lad, but he can’t stay out of trouble. Even after he’s told to ‘keep his nose clean’ by Jenn. Chased down through the town’s covered market by his knife-wielding nemesis Jordan Rooney (Conor Lowson), a fight ensues and ends with Adnan protecting himself, but turning the knife on Jordan. It’s the last thing the family needs. And the very last thing Jordan needs.

Next Wednesday night will reveal how this affects the Rahmans and the investigation…

Did you tune in for The Bay series 3 episode 3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Read Steve’s review of The Bay series 3 episode 4 here.

Enjoying The Bay series 3? Give one of these books a try…

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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The Bay series 3 episode 4 review

Still catching up on The Bay series 3 episode 4? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.

Over in The Bay, the investigation into Jordan Rooney’s stabbing is a fairly open and shut case. Police only had to wait for Rooney to wake up in his hospital bed to get an ID on the man responsible – Adnan Rahman. Although, as we know from seeing what happened, it was self-defence.

The investigation into the murder of Adnan’s brother Saif, on the other hand, seems to be quite a slow going one. Progress is being made, however. A break in the case this week saw DS Jamie ‘Clarkie’ Clarke (Andrew Dowbiggin, Coronation Street) tasked with investigating betting activity around Saif’s next fight. A few questions were asked around town and we found out that not only had Saif’s trainer Vinnie (Gary Lewis, Vigil) bet his life savings on his fighter winning, Saif’s aunt and uncle had been waging money on quite the opposite…

Yup. It turns out that Kareem (Ash Tandon, Bodyguard) and Shazia (Zahra Ahmadi, The Beast Must Die) had convinced Saif to throw his big upcoming fight in Salford so all three could cash in on bets laid on his outsider opponent. Not very supportive for family members, are they?

Could dodgy betting and Saif’s plans to take a dive have set off a chain reaction that ended up causing his death somehow? We’ll find out soon enough, no doubt. In truth, the investigation into Saif’s murder was something of a subplot here; this fourth episode was focused on something else entirely – the young lad’s funeral.

Muslim funerals aren’t something that generally get a lot of screen time on television, so this slightly extended look into the processes and rituals associated with mosque-held funerals was as unusual as it was illuminating. Writer Furquan Akhtar subtly weaves the story in and around the service, giving the audience a glimpse at some of the perhaps more widely unknown customs surrounding them.

There’s something uniquely touching about the scene showing Adnan having to wash his older brother’s body, after washing his own hands and feet. We say ‘having to’, but it’s not a chore. In fact, it’s something we even see younger brother Jamal wanting to help with. Performing such a ceremony for the deceased is an honour.

It’s little touches like these that can upgrade otherwise relatively generic dramas such as The Bay to something else. Here the funeral scenes were organic to the plot, accurate and – above all – thoroughly enlightening.

Elsewhere we found out that Molly has a wad of cash given to her by boyfriend Saif stashed away, while things got even more complicated and worrying at home for DS Jenn Townsend as her somewhat troubled and lonely son Connor (David Carpenter) went missing.

Although he appears to be on a budget of £20 borrowed from his stepdad. If he did go down to the amusements as he claimed he did, he won’t get far. That kind of cash won’t get you more than a few lives on House of the Dead 2, half an hour or so on the 2p machines and a couple of goes at most on the Minions grabber thing.

Did you tune in for The Bay series 3 episode 4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Read Steve’s review of The Bay series 3 episode 5 here.

Enjoying The Bay series 3? Give one of these books a try…

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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The Bay series 3 episode 5 review

Still catching up on The Bay series 3 episode 5? Read Steve’s review of episode 4 here.

As we approached the end of this fifth part, boss DI Manning (Daniel Ryan) summed things up rather dourly. The Bay’s single mainstay, the only character to appear in all 18 episodes so far, concluded that the team were ‘back to square one’. And that’s not a good place to be weeks into a major murder investigation.

80% of the way into this third series and we’re no closer to finding Saif Rahman’s killer. No one stands out to us as an obvious suspect, either. Yet while this is technically a whodunit of sorts, we don’t feel any overwhelming need to guess the murderer – although we will do shortly anyway… – like we might with a crime drama like Broadchurch or similar. We’re quite happy to simply watch and let the story wash over us like the waves lapping in from Morecambe’s picturesque bay.

DI Manning isn’t content to sit back and wait, though. He needs a result. Luckily for him and his team there was a break in the case right towards the end of this Wednesday evening’s instalment. Blood found inside the victim’s smashed mobile phone. Identify that and they’ll find, if not the murderer, then at least someone who was at the scene when Saif was beaten to death. It’s a real lead.

Where does this put Jenn – now reunited with her runaway teenage son Connor – and the team? Well, we don’t know quite how many squares there are from ‘knowing next to nothing’ to ‘catching the killer’, but this feels like a jump of at least five or six squares, surely.

It seems as if the answer to the question of who killed Saif could lie with young boxer Shirin Persaud (Deepica Stephen). In the final scene here we saw her messaging someone who told her not to ‘tell the police anything’. And at this late stage, that surely has to be significant.

The betting angle feels like something of a red herring now we’ve got to the bottom of it with Kareem and Shazia. So there must be something else going on. Personally, we’re more than a little suspicious of Saif’s pal and former sparring partner, ‘part of the family’ Ritchie (Paddy Rowan).

Who else could be responsible? Well, there’s pantomime villain Warren Pryce (Trigger Point’s Mark Stanley), the fellow gym goer who used to supply Saif with his performance enhancing drugs. Then, of course, there’s the pseudo-stepdad character Ray. He seems benevolent, with his excellent cardigan collection and reassuring grey beard. But he’s played by Vincent Regan who just can’t help but look a little bit evil. Oh, and let’s not forget Glaswegian gym owner Vinnie Morrison (Gary Lewis). That thing Warren said about his ‘guilty conscience’ was intriguing.

We’ll find out exactly what happened to young Saif Rahman next week in the big finale of this third series of The Bay. See you there.

Did you tune in for The Bay series 3 episode 5? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Read Steve’s review of The Bay series 3 episode 6 here.

Enjoying The Bay series 3? Give one of these books a try…

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

1 Comment

    Steve’s description, that “We’re quite happy to simply watch and let the story wash over us like the waves lapping in from Morecambe’s picturesque bay.”

    This is a remarkable feature for a modern crime fiction. And I even must add that acting carries this feature further, leaning a shine of reality on the racial hate, on the fear of one young man to admit that he was taking the assaulter’s knife and happened to turn it against the attacker, – in self defense, that is, and even if the script writer drags this element out into the absurd it works, it nailed me to the sofa and I couldn’t just say “this is acting, bro, they did not really kill him …” (The perpetrator being played so genuine that I had difficulties even saying “he is a good actor” — sorry, mate, you were good, too good for me! <3 )

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The Bay series 3 episode 6 review

Spoilers for The Bay series 3 episode 6 below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 5 here.

This Wednesday night – for the third time in three years – crime drama enthusiasts were served up a finale of ITV’s Lancashire-set murder mystery series The Bay.

The Big Whodunit Reveal at the end was a little underwhelming, truth be told. It’s been a month and a half since we first saw Saif Rahman’s body wash up to the shore of the eponymous bay and met our new lead, Family Liaison Officer DS Jenn Townsend. Fast forward six weeks and we have our killer(s). Funny how it almost always takes exactly six weeks to track down the murderer, isn’t it?

It turns out that Saif’s mate and ex-sparring partner Ritchie (Paddy Rowan), along with girlfriend Shirin (Deepica Stephen), were involved, with Richie driven mad by jealousy of the superior boxer. But it was Molly’s brother, mechanic Kyle (Joel Phillimore) who landed the final blows that killed the promising young fighter. His motivation? Even more of the green-eyed monster.

Given that none of the three were seen much or particularly fleshed out as characters before this final part, this climax wasn’t hugely satisfying. Luckily, there’s been more than enough quality drama surrounding the family of the deceased these past six weeks to make up for the slightly limp ending.

A fourth series has been announced and will begin filming later in the year. Although no details have been shared yet, it will see Marsha Thomason return in the lead. Her first run out as the central character here was, perhaps, only really a partial success.

Replacing Morven Christie was never going to be easy when the Scottish actress was already so popular amongst The Bay’s 7-8 million-strong audience. And word on social media seemed to suggest that DS Jenn Townsend hasn’t gone down quite as well as her predecessor DS Lisa Armstrong. At least not yet, anyway.

It’s been a tough act to follow for Lost star Thomason. Any reluctance the audience has to fully side with or embrace Jenn isn’t really her fault, though. Her character is, so far, something of a closed book. We hesitate to say that the new FLO is underwritten, but we’re all going to need more personality, background and insight when series 4 rolls around.

After glimpsing into DI Manning’s personal life a little in this third run – albeit only briefly – we’d like to peek behind the curtains and spy on some of the other detectives. We reckon Karen must have an interesting (maybe even dark) side. And we know Clarkey’s worth snooping on after hours. As for young Eddie…? Maybe not so much. He’s probably just on Doctor Who forums when he clocks off work.

As a whole, this series of Daragh Carville’s coastal drama was fine, but never truly set the pulse racing. Replacing the lead character proved trickier than those working on The Bay might’ve hoped. Really though, it was just something of an uninspiring central plot.

That said, these six episodes weren’t without their highlights. Okay, so the casting of a stocky 25-year-old man to play a sixth former stood out, but still, the inclusion of deaf actor Nadeem Islam and the accurate and prominent representation of British Sign Language was commendable. So too was the in-depth and illuminating portrayal of a Muslim funeral in episode 4. There were also some stand-out performances; Rina Mahoney was particularly excellent as Mariam, the feisty grieving mum fighting the bottle.

Not quite up to the previous standards but hardly a flop, this third run of The Bay won’t live long in the memory but offered up enough to keep us tuning in when series 4 hits our TV shores, likely in 2023.

Did you tune in for The Bay series 3 episode 6? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Enjoyed The Bay series 3? Give one of these books a try…

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

2 Comments

    I think the Bay is the best UK drama at the mo, as all loose ends were tied up, unlike some other recent series, and the way it doesn’t solely focus on one character helps the storyline. I could be biased given it’s filmed in my home town but prefer this to Line of Duty.

    I liked the way the new FLO was introduced as well, so much so I’ve forgotten bthe name of the one who left!

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