Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Television

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Television

Article excerpt

Byline: PETE CLARK

The Debt

Sunday 9pm BBC1 ...

I am a sucker for a well-delivered voiceover. Virtually the first words that come to your ears at the start of this excellent twoparter are spoken by the wonderful Warren Clarke (right): 'Three years ago, I swore I'd never see the inside of a nick again,' he says. In this short sentence, delivered with typical deadpan resignation, you sense what is to come with a delicious thrill of anticipation.

Warren Clarke's character Geoff, a onetime safe cracker, is about to have a whole pile of trouble on his hands. We watch him baking gingerbread men at the bakery where he works, and we know that this sweet and warm world is shortly to be blown apart.

The accurate use of the voiceover is only one of The Debt's strengths. In an age when too much television drama feels it necessary to plod along while setting up its storyline, here we have one that gallops from the off. There are various strands and a playful attitude towards the space/time continuum, but we can immediately grasp who the major players are, and what game it is they are playing. Our intelligence is for once flattered, as is our ability to grasp faintly elusive details.

The acting is also immaculate, and a particular mention must be made of Martin Freeman as Geoff's hapless ne'er do well son-in-law Terry, the kind of bloke who could lose all his fingers and still contrive to get them caught in a till. …

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