Creative Sensemaker: What to read, watch and listen to this weekend

Temple Season 2 - Creative Sensemaker, Soho House

A rundown of the books, films, music and more by Tortoise Media, the slow news agency

By Matt d’Ancona

Welcome to the latest Creative Sensemaker from Tortoise Media.

Here’s what Peter Ackroyd has to say about the subterranean capital city in his minor classic, London Under: ‘It is the home of the devil and of holy water. The underworld moves the imagination to awe and to horror. It is in part a human world, made from the activities of many generations, but it is also primeval and inhuman. It repels clarity and thought. It may offer safety for some, but it does not offer solace. London is built upon darkness.’

It was precisely this darkness that made the first season of Temple (Sky) so intriguing. Created by Mark O’Rowe, the series confronted us with a Faustian dilemma: what would happen to a distinguished cardiac surgeon (Mark Strong), compelled to treat criminals and fugitives for cash in an illegal underground clinic so that he could also care, off the books, for Beth (Catherine McCormack), his terminally ill and officially dead wife? 
 
In daily life, Daniel Milton is a grand medical authority, striding the brightly-lit corridors of his hospital, and a supposedly attentive father to his daughter, Eve. Yet, underground – beneath Temple tube station – he is caught in a world of lawlessness, criminality, and bedlam.

In its second season (Sky Max; Now), Milton’s situation becomes more rather than less complex, his wife’s recovery overshadowed by the fact that it owes so much to the research of his lover (and Beth’s friend), Anna, brilliantly played by Carice van Houten. His prospects of escape from working in the underground clinic are also radically reduced by the arrival