Review: Save Me (S1 E1/6), Wednesday 28th February, Sky Atlantic

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NB: SPOILERS INSIDE

Sky Atlantic is more known for its HBO and Showtime imports than its UK originals, although it has been increasing its in-house productions year on year. Most recently we’ve had The Tunnel (good), Riviera (meh) and Tin Star (average) in the crime drama genre, but now we get Save Me: a six-part story set in and around a south London estate written by and starring the brilliant Lennie James, and co-starring the likes of Stephen Graham and Suranne Jones. If this first episode is anything to go by, we might be onto a winner. Continue reading

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First Look: Save Me, Sky Atlantic

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Sky Atlantic’s six-part thriller, Save Me, starts next week (Wednesday 28th February), and there was a screening at London’s BAFTA building in Piccadilly last night. Written by and starring Lennie James – and also starring Stephen Graham and Suranne Jones, among others – it’s set in and around a south London housing estate, and features a central character plunged into a noirish nightmare. By that description you might think that Save Me is Scandi-style dark, but it’s not – there’s plenty of humour, incredible, flawed characters and a powerful story of redemption at its heart. Continue reading

Review: Little Boy Blue (S1 E3&4/4), Monday 8th and Monday 15th May, ITV

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One of the series I’ve gotten a bit behind on is ITV’s four-part adaptation of a true crime, Little Boy Blue. For two episodes we’ve seen how 11-year-old boy Rhys Jones was shot senselessly in a car park in Croxteth, Liverpool in the summer of 2007; and how investigating officer DS Dave Kelly struggled to bring the teenage gang responsible for the killing to justice. It had been powerful and emotional thus far, but – being super-objective – had it been a decent drama? Yes. And no.  Continue reading

Review: Little Boy Blue (S1 E2/4), Monday 1st May, ITV

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Last week ITV’s new four-part adaptation of the tragic Rhys Jones story introduced us to both a family trying to come to terms with the overwhelming grief of losing an 11-year-old son to a seemingly random murder and a policeman in a temporary position tasked with bringing those who took the lad’s life to justice. We also met a gang of local youths drunk on the strength of their status as untouchables in and around Croxteth, convinced that their power within the community would help them to get away with the murder. Episode was a harrowing, uncomfortable watch, but it was sensitively staged and researched. More of the same in episode two. Continue reading

Review: Little Boy Blue (S1 E1/4), Monday 24th April, ITV

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And so we come to our post-Broadchurch, Monday-night crime watch. Whereas the final, third series of Broadchurch managed to present a harrowing case of sexual assault with sensitivity and a great deal of procedural realism, almost to the point of documentary style, it has nothing on an actual true story. And this is what Little Boy Blue is – an adapted drama made with the consent of a murdered 11-year-old boy’s family, whose story and tragedy deeply touched and saddened a nation a decade ago. Anything that is based on real-life events makes me nervous (Will it do justice to the victim? Will it do justice to the family of the victim? What is the point of telling the story?), so I approached this with trepidation and a little nervousness.

NB. Spoilers inside Continue reading

ITV confirms transmission date for Little Boy Blue

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A few months ago we saw the BBC’s attempt to bring to life a harrowing true-life crime story – that of the Shannon Matthews disappearance – and now ITV is getting in on the act. True crime stories are always fraught with difficulty and come with potential controversy – how do you depict things that are still so raw for a lot of people? The last time ITV did a true crime story (Jimmy Nesbitt’s excellent The Secret and Martin Compston’s In Plain Sight) the former was actually discussed in British Parliament because of an outcry from one of the victim’s family. The Moorside attracted a lot of attention, and I’m expecting ITV’s latest true crime adaptation, Little Boy Blue, to also provoke intense discussion. But at least we now know when it’s on… Continue reading

Sky Atlantic announces last series of The Tunnel, plus Suranne Jones crime drama

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fileSky Atlantic is going to be busy this year. On top of the imminent second series of Fortitude and the Swedish drama Midnight Sun, there’s also much more coming up later in the year. Two of things on the horizon include a returning series and a brand new one that will star one of the hottest female acting talents in the UK – Suranne Jones. Continue reading