“Is he supposed to be nice?”
Just a quickie to cover the first episode of this new Jack Thorne drama on Channel 4, and I’ll review the series as a whole once all four episodes have aired. National Treasure takes its inspiration directly from Operation Yewtree and its revelations about the nefarious activities of veteran TV personages, to give us an exploration into how such a scandal could unfold, sweeping up everyone in its path and uncovering a painstakingly hidden past.
Robbie Coltrane takes the role of Paul Finchley, one half of a much-loved TV comedy duo, whose world is rocked by a historical accusation of rape. Placed under investigation by the police, his personal life is shaken, not least his marriage to Julie Walters and his shaky relationship with recovering addict daughter Andrea Riseborough. And once the news conveniently slips into the media, his professional life is also called into question as the number of accusations multiplies.
Marc Munden’s assured direction made this a high-quality start into what looks to be a fascinating story, whose layers and hidden depths are only beginning to come to the surface. Riseborough in particular is a brilliant piece of casting as the episode’s best scene attests, therapy-speak and dreams intersecting on the edgs of a potentially horrific truth. Walters hasn’t had too much to do yet as his devout wife but one imagines it is a role that will grow and in the supporting cast, I was pleased to see Nadine Marshall as a half-apologetic detective, Babou Ceesay’s no-nonsense lawyer, and Rosalind Eleazor in a small but crucial role. Doubtless it will get harder and harder to watch but I suspect it will be well worth it.