The BBC One’s latest flash primetime crime drama has snuck under the radar a little bit.
And yet, the channel is fully throwing this out there, but showing two episodes on consecutive nights, over two weeks.
It’s one of those high-concept pieces that pose difficult questions and conundrums. And this first episode poses one of the most difficult questions anyone could imagine.
The Mensah family are a pretty normal South London family, except for one thing: Manny and Sam’s son, Isaac, has been snapped up by a talent agency and is returning from his first stint on a Hollywood movie. The family greet up as any proud family would – they throw him a party. But there’s something not quite right with him, and eventually, he shows them a piece of recorded footage on his iPhone.
He has been sexually abused by the film’s producer, Jotham Starr.
It’s a bombshell and it turns Manny and Sam’s stomachs, as it does ours. It’s every parent’s worse nightmare and for the child itself a heart-wrencher – the confusion, the humiliation, the fear. The courage it takes to admit something like this must be staggering. From what you read of survivors of abuse – especially kids – is that they feel shame and blame, and don’t want to upset the loved ones who actually love them.
So when Issac shows his parents the footage, your heart goes out to him.
But, of course, that is just the start of the story.
Manny – full of rage and righteous indignation – is told by the police that bringing a case against Starr is nigh on impossible. The parents try talking to the chaperone. She doesn’t believe him until they show her the iPhone footage.
Starr’s reps want to meet with them. They offer Manny and Sam a non-disclosure agreement – sign it and Isaac’s future in movies won’t be tarnished, sign it and they can’t say anything about the incident again, sign it and they get three million.
They’re shocked and staggered.
So you can see where this is going. It’s definitely a modern, topical story, and it’s definitely a story that’s designed to provoke debate and get Twitter chattering away. Jill Halfpenny and Babou Ceesay are excellent as parents Sam and Manny, but I got the feeling that this was a high concept that was about to be stretched thinly over the remaining three episodes.