Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat here – Remember Me is something a bit special. It does play on ghost story tropes and it’s a bit predictable at points, but it’s a highly enjoyable and delicately crafted show that you’d be a fool of a Took to miss.
Remember Me is a supernatural thriller starring Michael Palin as Tom Parfitt, an old Yorkshireman whose admittance to a nursing home triggers a series of inexplicable events. To the credit of writer Gwyneth Hughes these inexplicable events don’t feel out of place, and the series feels very much grounded in reality. It’s also down to the superb direction of Ashley Pearce, who effectively establishes a despondent mood from the get-go through a dark, filmic filter that is nicely supplemented by some pathetic fallacy. The white rose county looks bleak even without the filter, but with it there isn’t a moment when Yorkshire doesn’t look eerie. Now I’m no Beethoven (I’m more Mozart) but the score is also worthy of mention, because it really heightens the tension in Remember Me’s more claustrophobic moments. It’s nothing short of chilling (the haunted sort, rather than the “Help! I’m stuck in a refrigerator!” sort).
Remember Me also stars Mark Addy, known for his roles in Game of Thrones and The Full Monty (no link to Monty Python here, bar a snake of sorts) joining the main cast as detective Rob Fairholme. Also in a leading role is newcomer Jodie Comer who portrays Hannah, and who shares impressive chemistry with her co-stars. But it’s the Monty Python star who steals the show here. Tom Parfitt is disrespectful, antisocial and downright mean spirited at times, yet Palin still manages to make him likeable. The comic charm from his Python days is still there, but his dramatic chops really shine in this more mature role. The rest of the cast bring great depth to their characters too, even Addy, who doesn’t feature heavily in the first episode, evokes sympathy for Fairholme’s unfortunate circumstances, while Hannah’s turbulent relationship with her mother is something that many teenagers will be able to relate to. The plot hasn’t been discussed much here so as to avoid spoilers, but rest assured that you have a fantastic character-driven detective story that rewards those who pay attention to the finer details.
As aforementioned, the usual genre tropes are present with a scene that’s reminiscent of 2012’s The Woman in Black, but Remember Me uses these scenes effectively and sparingly. I actually jumped at a scene transition. A scene change. Pearce creates this omnipresent sense of unease that never leaves you, and if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you invest in a pillow to hide behind. Remember Me may not be a reinvention of the genre, but it has real heart and character. This is not so much a ghost story as a human story of love, loss and acceptance. Remember Me is some brilliant storytelling just screaming out to be remembered. I know I certainly will.
Remember Me will broadcast on BBC One on Sunday 23 November at 9pm.