Trinity - In The Press

ITV2 has axed university comedy drama series Trinity after one series. The eight-part series, which starred Christian Cooke and Reggie Yates, opened to 596k viewers last September.

"We wanted to try something different but it didn't work," an insider told The Sun. Speaking in August, the controller of ITV2 and acquisitions Zai Bennett praised the programme but said that ratings had not matched expectations for the expensive drama.

"It did really well, half a million as an average," he said. "But that's not quite enough to bring it back. It's a terribly expensive show - £3 or £4 million out of what is overall a small budget."

Ryan Love, Digital Spy, 27th October 2010

I wonder how many viewer complaints ITV2's raunchy new soap Trinity garnered. Personally, my biggest grievance was the total absence of raunchiness. Come on ITV2, you can be ruder than that. Nobody's watching!

The announcer warned us of imminent nudity, but the anticipated feast of flesh turned out to be the same poor actor obliged to show his buttocks twice. And even from behind, the actor involved looked uncomfortable, which is quite an achievement.

Trinity is set in the country's most prestigious seat of learning, the fictional Bridgeford University, where, amid the gleaming spires, intellectual pursuits come a poor second to murder, casual sex, class warfare and bullying.

Charles Dance stars as the sinister Professor Maltravers, who takes instructions from a shadowy figure lurking in a secret hideaway behind the oak-panelled wall. It's early days, but I suspect Maltravers is involved in the sort of illicit experiment that gives science a bad name.

Characterisation is gossamer thin, production values are spartan and the plots risible, but there is a self-satisfied knowingness to it all, as though the producers are more than aware of the show's B-movie sensibilities and inviting viewers to share the joke. Which is all very well, but I'm not altogether sure the joke is that good.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 28th September 2009

Who is Christian Cooke? Well, if you are of a certain age - 14 and probably, but not necessarily, female - there's every chance your bedroom walls will be plastered in posters of this 23-year-old slayer of ghoulies, the mission undertaken as protagonist Luke Rutherford in ITV's Demons. Personally, I'd want to slay my agent for embroiling me in Trinity, ITV2's new collegiate clunker in which Cooke plays butt-baring beefcake Dorian Gaudain. With roles in Echo Beach (as Brae Marrack), Doctor Who (Private Ross Jenkins), vet drama The Chase (roguish Liam Higgins) and 68 episodes of Where The Heart Is (Luke Kirkwall) under his belt, it had all been going so well until the unholy Trinity hove into view.

Keith Barker-Main, Metro, 28th September 2009

And then just as I was bathed in a warm critical glow that conceivably wasn't even menopausal, I made the mistake of tuning belatedly into Trinity (ITV2), a... um... er... thriller? Comedy? Drama? Sod it, a programme about a bonkers Ivy League-meets-Hogwarts British university full of freaks and sex addicts so charmlessly crass, cynically smutty, joyless, unfunny and badly written and acted (despite starring Charles Dance and Claire Skinner. What. Were. They. Thinking?) that I immediately signed up to the show's Facebook group, where questions such as: "So who looks like the better snog, Theo or Dorian?" (posed by a wicked Wizard of Oz-style ITV employee, presumably), are asked while a horde of 15-year-old girls cyber-shout "Dorian!"

But although buff, beautiful and entirely leech-free, Dorian (Christian Cooke) is a long way from being a pre-watershed hero - no girl would be safe with him alone in a well lit room, much less Afghanistan or a volcano.

Kathryn Flett, The Observer, 27th September 2009

Never a martyr to originality, ITV rolled out their latest spooky drama Trinity that is part Lost, part Codename Icarus and part any US college-set comedy-drama that goes straight to DVD, and then straight to the charity shop, and then straight to recycling when the DVD is taking up space that could be used for a DVD that has a better chance of selling, such as Bobby Davro's Rock With Laughter or Fred West Sings Sinatra.

The young characters in Trinity can be summed-up in a few words - Dorian (likes sex, preferably incest, but will settle for virgins; very arrogant); Charlotte (feisty Christian, easily corrupted); Rosalind (loves sex, hates love); Theo (poor but bright, likes sex); Angus (moron, stoned); Raj (stoned, moron). The last two are supposed to offer comic relief through their tripped-out dialogue and drug taking but are perhaps the most egregious screen presences since Scrappy Doo.

There's a temptation to write-off the first episode as an excruciating and clumsy introduction. The first reason is that the truly atrocious scene in which distressed virgin (her father died recently, as never tires of telling anyone) Charlotte (Antonia Bernath) is seduced by the predatory Dorian. After revelling in the joys of sex for the first time, Charlotte suddenly appears as though she's just read the Karma sutra in the 15 seconds it's taken for Dorian to get his end away and is lustful for more. That is until she spots the cross dangling from her neck, and is suddenly tormented by a religious guilt that swamps very pore of her soul prompting her to lambast Dorian for taking advantage of her (and in so doing causing Dorian's face to break out in an emotion that isn't arrogance or scorn for the first time in his life).

The second reason is that away from the debauchery, that is as calculating a sensual device to lure in the casual viewer as a half-naked woman is in a video by the offensively crap All-American Rejects, there is a sinister beguiling plot handled deftly by Charles Dance as the sharp, menacing Dr Edmund Maltravers, the Dean of Trinity, and Claire Skinner as the sympathetic Dr Angela Donne concerning some mysterious experiment or research being conducted at the university.

Of course, we don't know what it is yet, and are unlikely to ever know - as Trinity will probably be hacked to death by the ITV cost-cutting monster that lurks under the bed of every creative thought in independent television - but we can only hope that whatever the devious plan is that it involves the gradual elimination of every single student in Trinity - that by itself would win it a Bafta for Most Satisfying Drama Series.

The Custard TV, 26th September 2009

Let's get one thing straight before we go any further. Trinity is a preposterous programme. However, any criticism you level at it will just wash off like rain off a duck feather. You see, this is a show that is completely aware of how bad it is. It's going for the So Bad It's Good angle.

Written by mofgimmers. TV Scoop, 24th September 2009

ITV2's new drama Trinity is set in a fictitious university. The key characters of superficial toffs and bright, working-class teens are all overseen by the principal, Charles Dance, who leads an impressive cast including Claire Skinner as Warder, employed to bring the university into the 21st century by encouraging a new policy of ethnic and social mix. Nudity and sex are in abundance, along with some cringeworthy and potentially offensive dialogue: "Have you ever come on a member of the royal family?" stands out.

But among all this frivolity are secrets involving one of the freshers, who enrols to uncover the truth about her father's death. Trinity is well produced, with some great performances and a mystery that leaves us wanting to know more. I'm already hooked.

Donna Wiffen, Broadcast, 24th September 2009

Thank God, then, for Trinity. Ash Atalla puts Footballers' Wives, Inspector Morse and Buffy into a pot, stirs, and out comes this - and what a romp it is. His first non-comedy, and yet I laughed out loud. The casting of Charles Dance is genius; I love the fact the royal tart really is a royal. It is ridiculous, but knowingly so, and I am sure it will be a great hit. The creepy thriller undertones left me wanting more, and although I know it's not meant for me, I will be tuning in.

Kelly Webb-Lamb, Broadcast, 24th September 2009

ITV2 is not interested in family audiences. It just wants the under-34s. Last night it aimed for them with a comedy drama that predicts or recalls the terror of your first term at university. The eponymous Oxbridge-style college in Trinity contains plenty to be scared of. It is run by a sinister snob played with lethal silkiness by Charles Dance who keeps a troll-like boffin called Linus working on a secret necromancy project. Scarier than them, however, are the students, hoorays whose eccentricities stretch from hooting at jokes in Latin to having sex with their cousins. In the opener's best scene, Trinity's version of the Bullingdon Club hold a Feast of Fools in which two gullible proles are volunteered to prance around the party in their underpants as court jesters under the impression that this is a good way to meet girls.

Into this madhouse arrive the pleb freshers Theo (Reggie Yates), who is not averse to finding a way into some posh knickers, Maddy (Elen Rhys), who is daffy and Welsh, and Charlotte (Antonia Bernath) who is a Christian but otherwise normal and whose father has just been killed. The characters are well drawn, the plot is ingenious, the sex is raunchy and the look is opulent. But Trinity has about half as many jokes as it needs. If ever a script needed punching up, it was this one.

Andrew Billen, The Times, 21st September 2009

The writers of Trinity (ITV2) have got bare-faced cheek - and that's not a reference to leading lad Christian Cooke's penchant for wearing his boxers at half mast. What's obvious is that this toffs v peasants black comedy thriller pays a huge debt to Society, Brian Yuzna's 1989 horror classic where the rich literally feed on the poor. Society (the movie, the concept) is all about fitting in and that's the motor driving Trinity, a bizarrely enjoyable hybrid of Gossip Girl and Brideshead Revisited - with a dash of Dr Phibes - that's set in an imposing university where the elite have ruled the roost for centuries. Though they let the odd working-class oik in for a spot of amusement.

It's not the subtlest satire you'll ever see but, what with Charles Dance doing something murky in the lab, dark secrets swirling round the quadrangle and a young, lusty cast bouncing from mystery thriller scenes to parodies of American Pie at the drop of a pair of knickers, there's never a dull moment. My guess is that the incidental pleasures are likely to outweigh any burning interest in discovering the truth behind the shadow hanging over drippy heroine Charlotte's past but, with potty-mouthed posh totty Isabella Calthorpe having a ball rolling her tongue around the filthiest lines in the script, Trinity is shaping up as an unholy treat.

Keith Watson, Metro, 21st September 2009

I can't imagine that there will be a big demographic overlap with the potential audience for Trinity, ITV2's weird gothic thriller, set in a fictional Oxbridge-style college. The first time I looked at this the online screening system stuttered wildly, so that the soundtrack ran fluently beneath a series of still images of the characters gaping wildly. It was like a strange high-tech version of Deidre's Photo Casebook from The Sun, and it seemed appropriate really because all the dialogue here would be far more at home in a speech bubble. The story begins with the death of a vicar in a mist-swathed churchyard and then shifts to new term at Trinity, a traditional establishment just about to take its first intake of swotty oiks. The college's usual students - dandyish young toffs who are majoring in advanced hooliganism and applied debauchery - don't think much to this. There is boy tottie and girl tottie, a lot of sophomorically naughty sex, and a couple of comedy dopers who are about as funny as accidentally stubbing a joint out on your own kneecap. What there isn't is a shred of psychological continuity, so that at one moment a mousey Christian student is expressing shock at what one takes is her first sight of a naked man and at the next she's helping him to peel off her knickers. It wants to be so bad it's good, but sadly it's not quite bad enough to make it.

Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 21st September 2009

There are lots of beautiful young people in Trinity hopping in and out of bed with each other. Meanwhile, a couple of idiot stoners huddle in a wheely bin as arrogant sloanes with posh floppy hair exercise an ancient privilege by peeing on them. We're at a collegiate university, it's very, very silly, Porterhouse Blue meets There's Something About Mary, that kind of thing. It's early days I know, but I think it looks quite promising.

Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 21st September 2009

You may not be feeling too well-disposed towards ITV2 at the moment - after all, they were going to broadcast a show featuring LowCulture favourite Christian Cooke's bare buttocks months ago, but decided we'd probably like to look at Jordan staying classy again instead. But the first episode of Trinity finally airs tonight so you can breathe a sigh of relief (although chances are you've already seen the bottom in question in that preview clip on the internet.) Taking place at Trinity college, where until now only the rich and powerful were admitted (presumably they didn't get the memo about how that sort of thing's been illegal for years) commoners are now entering for the first time.

Frankly I've got no idea what to expect - the ITV promotional material features spooky flames, "all is not what it seems" and some stuff about mysterious secret societies. But then the Radio Times describes it as a cartoonish, knockabout comedy, so I guess you'll just have to watch and make up your own mind whether or not the comedy's intentional. But beware: The last time ITV tempted us with Mr Cooke's nipples the result was Demons, a show whose USP was basically "Buffy the Vampire Slayer ripped off by someone who's never actually seen it." So approach with caution.

Nick Holland, LowCulture, 20th September 2009

Picture new students at an old university, some of them arrogant toffs dedicated to having a good time, others smart and hard-working but naive. Yes you've seen it all before, but never quite like this. Charles Dance and Claire Skinner at least bring some class to this cartoonish new comedy. The script is writing-by-numbers and the comedy - well let's be kind and call it broad. Somewhere there's a mystery bubbling away, but it's hard to imagine what else is going to be chucked into the pot. For some, this might be so bad it's good.

Geoff Ellis, The Radio Times, 20th September 2009

It would help if Trinity knew what it wanted to be: teenage drama, Gothic murder mystery or a comedy about class. But the mix of genres does this eight-part series no favours. Yes, it looks sexy and stars Charles Dance, but the script is woeful and the concept desperately cliched. The setting is an exclusive university which prides itself on being for the rich and powerful. Until now, that is: at the behest of the new warden, Dr Angela Doone (Claire Skinner), Trinity has opened its doors to all classes and incomes. Among the new arrivals is Charlotte (Antonia Bernath), whose father was a don at Trinity but who died in mysterious circumstances related to the university's dark secret, one overseen by Dr Edmund Maltravers (Dance), the snobbish and devious dean.

The Telegraph, 20th September 2009

Back on TV as a malign university professor in ITV2's Trinity, Charles Dance reveals why he also treats his own profession with a healthy dose of cynicism.

Written by Serena Davies. Daily Telegraph, 18th September 2009

The producer of The Office has moved on from comedy with a new soap described as Gossip Girl meets Buffy via Hogwarts.

Written by Gerard Gilbert. The Independent, 18th September 2009

It turns out that Ash Atalla, the man who persuaded the BBC to make The Office when its own head of comedy didn't quite get it, met similar discouragement from his own parents.

Written by Andrew Billen. The Times, 17th September 2009