CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: A sweet love story behind drug gang shootings?

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews the weekend’s TV: A sweet love story behind every drug gang shooting? Don’t be daft

You Don’t Know Me


Michael Crawford: Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em


The teenage boys who sit on the benches in our local park smoking drugs show up after dark on bicycles, dressed in hoodies and jogging bottoms.

Once in a blue moon a patrol car circles for a few minutes, and the youths evaporate. The rest of the time, they keep a low profile, ignoring dog walkers and never drawing attention to themselves by larking about or playing loud music.

My neck of the woods must be a deprived area, because the dealers of South London in You Don’t Know Me (BBC1) possess spectacular, flamboyant dress sense.

Roger Jean Nsengiyumva, who plays cocky drug baron Jamil, floats around the Woolwich estates in white trousers and a voluminously quilted white coat that falls open to his ankles.

Roger Jean Nsengiyumva (left) plays cocky drug baron Jamil alongside Samuel Adewunmi (right) as Hero in You Don’t Know Me

It looks like the outfit supermodel Naomi Campbell would wear to trek to the Antarctic with Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Perhaps that’s what all the metropolitan dope-peddlers are sporting these days. Or maybe Tom Edge, the British writer who adapted Imran Mahmood’s novel for the Beeb, has copied the classic American TV drama The Wire — in which stars, including Idris Elba and Michael K. Williams, played splendidly attired drugs moguls.

You Don’t Know Me is a neatly constructed story of a missing woman, told to a jury by a young man on trial for the murder of dandyish dealer Jamil.

Samuel Adewunmi plays Hero, who dismisses his barrister and begs the judge to let him tell his life story in his own defence.

Hero is a sales exec at an upmarket car dealership. He chats up a girl called Kyra (Sophie Wilde) on the bus, invites her to dinner and rustles up a spaghetti carbonara so good that she moves in with him.

Kyra is an enigma. Hero knows nothing about her except that she enjoys reading — and I’m not convinced about that, because the novels she chooses to display are Great Expectations and The Great Gatsby . . . the sort of books a 14-year-old would pick to appear well-read.

Sign-off of the weekend: 

Piers Morgan presented his final edition of Life Stories (ITV) before handing over to his guest, Kate Garraway. She’s certain to be better than the charmless Jonathan Ross, whose video chat with Elton John was stilted and dull. 

Apart from that, we learn nothing about her. She has no job, no parents, no friends, no personality. She’s almost an imaginary girlfriend, and Hero is more surprised than he should be when he comes home from work one day to find she isn’t on the sofa where he left her. Kyra has vanished. He finds her working as a prostitute and the first episode ended with Hero stepping out of his car to confront her pimp, with a gun in his pocket.

So far, You Don’t Know Me is less than convincing.

I do not believe there is a sweet love story behind every drugs gang shooting — however comforting it might be to believe that. But Adewunmi makes Hero warm, gentle and hugely likeable, and I’m looking forward to tonight’s second part, to find out more about how he ended up facing life in jail.

Shy West End superstar Michael Crawford, profiled in the 90-minute biography Michael Crawford: Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em (C5), also came across as hugely likeable — if a bit of a diva, as his friend and colleague Arlene Phillips assured us he could be.

An array of famous friends paid tribute, from impresarios Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bill Kenwright to sitcom co-star Michele Dotrice.

Barbra Streisand, who starred opposite a 27-year-old Crawford in Hello, Dolly!, didn’t appear, but perhaps she hasn’t mastered Zoom.

A wealth of excerpts from musicals such as Barnum and Phantom, as well as generous clips of those jaw-dropping stunts in Some Mothers, more than made up for her absence.

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