Writer Paul Smith’s four-part drama centres around the events of one hot summer night and how it affects four very different people. The four episodes tell the story of that night from the four different points of view but such is a the strength of the writing and acting here that each episode feels like a standalone drama. With each episode we see the characters in different lights and it builds brilliantly to the conclusion. Smith has written characters that are real and three dimensional with Jessica Hynes and young actor Billy Matthews giving what just might be two of the best performances of the year.
In the opening episode we meet Ted (played brilliantly with Douglas Hodge). Ted is a man whose future looks uncertain after difficult time at work, He's a wound up mess on the verge of a breakdown. Ted is driven even closer to the edge when he catches four teenage girls dropping litter on the road outside his home. Ted’s brief but fiery exchange with the girls sets off a chain events that puts him in a venerable position that he could have never foreseen. Such is the caliber of the Smith’s writing here that you really empathize with each character and you become immersed in each world. There’s a palpable air of tension that runs through each story and even in its slower moments I was never bored, uninterested or fed up.
By the final episode which can be seen at 10.35pm after a repeat of BBC favourite New Tricks (the mind boggles) you’ll be both desperate to know the outcome and overwhelmed by the talents of the young cast. You meet Alfie in episode 1 and he features in the majority of the series but it isn’t until the final episode that we really see who he is and how his life is treating him. I predict big things for Billy Smith he plays Alife with a realism and truth that almost made me ache.