The Town: Review

The Town

ITV, Wednesday 5 December, 2100

I have to admit ITV is not the place I usually go to for decent drama. To me, it’s a channel where I might watch a movie or catch the football, but since movies are easy enough to find on the internet and my recent loss of interest in the beautiful game it rarely comes into my cross hairs.

But of late, I have heard on the grapevine that ITV has been doing some good stuff, with the like of ‘Mrs Biggs’ and ‘A Mother’s Son’ doing well and my mum seems to enjoy ‘DCI Banks’, though she will watch anything with a copper in it.

So when I saw a few trailers for ‘The Town,’ a new three-part drama by Olivier Award winner Mike Bartlett I was not only intrigued by the premise but also thought it might actually be worth paying a short visit to ITV.

Then I was asked to review it and suddenly there was no risk involved and I could watch ITV all in the name of science…sort of.

The show starts with the bedtime stroll of an average Mum as she heads to bed for the night, she says goodnight to her Mother (Julia McKenzie), stroppy teenage daughter and rather sweetly tells her husband she loves him as he exits the bathroom post poo. It’s all rather quaint and lovely and this emphasised by the music. However the peace is shattered the next morning when the stroppy daughter finds Mum and Dad have killed themselves. Dun Dun Dahhh!

This tragedy cues the return of Mark, played here by Andrew Scott fresh from his questionable yet certainly memorable performance as Moriarty in BBC’s Sherlock. Mark has been in London for the last 8 years and has never returned to the quiet and peaceful backwater where he grew up and is not only deeply troubled by the untimely deaths of his parents but also the culture shock of returning home and finding the truth in the old adage “the more things change the more they stay the sameâ€?.

I have to say this was an extremely enjoyable and expertly constructed first episode of a murder mystery and hints that this could actually be more interesting than the average thriller. In addition to the average set up, clues and links we also have a number of interesting narrative lines set up; Marks relationships with his old school friends, Martin Clune’s boozy Mayor and the burgeoning maturity of Mark’s sister, Jodie (Avigail Tlalim).

The slow drip of clues and conspiracy, coupled with the realistic and relatable story of return after a long time away from home is tantalising, well considered and utterly watchable. So watch it.