Watching TV like I do you almost become a little hardened. I’m often guilty of thinking I know what something will be like, and sadly I’m often right, but occasionally something lovely happens, all my preconceptions are trounced upon and something I’d initially dismissed surprises and entrances me.
That was certainly the case with Channel 4’s modern day masterpiece Cyberbully. I’m a twitter user, a blogger, but didn’t initially feel I was the demographic for this tale of a teenage girl who has her computer hacked by a threatening figure who sounds vaguely like Stephen Hawking. The draw for me though was the wonderful Maisie Williams. I wasn’t sure at all if it would keep my attention, my teens are long behind me, and if someone hacked into my facebook page they’d just be further publicising this website! Win win!
It started predictably enough, with Casey chatting with friends online and being a bit bratty, I powered on through this and I can honestly say I’m truly glad I did. What followed was one of the most gripping, engrossing and worrying relevant pieces of TV I’ve seen in a very long time. It was basically a one act play, I’ve written several sentences praising Maisie’s performance but quickly deleted them as I don’t feel anything I can say will do justice to her truly masterful work here. I was gripped! As this was Channel 4 I used the ad breaks to, rather ironically, check social media to see what others where saying. Of course there were people as gripped as I was, but I found myself frustrated at the amount of people tweeting about Celebrity Big Brother who seemed unaware there were missing something of such value on the other side.
I don’t like the term emotional rollercoaster as it’s overused, particularly by me annoyingly, but this truly was. I found myself not liking Casey for her immature, bratty behaviour and then having my viewpoint completely changed within seconds. I could have never predicted someone talking to a sinister computer would affect me so strongly. By the time it reached its stomach churning conclusion I was exhausted. Channel 4 is always telling us it’s the channel that takes risks, and I believe this is the sort of thing they should be making. This was a terrifying, yet sadly true to life piece of modern storytelling, coupled with an award worthy performance from its lead. I can’t praise it enough, I hope it has affected its target audience as much as it has me, and that we can expect more drama of this quality in 2015.