Warning - Don’t watch ONE OF US with the big light on. Not because you need the scare factor provided by a dark, atmospheric room, but because the show itself is lit in such a way that it’s almost impossible to view some of the picture without being in the dark yourself!
Lighting aside this is decent drama. A tense, atmosphere driven piece that the BBC do so well. Tempting trailers hinted at a Marple-esque style whodunnit, with two families isolated on a Scottish farm – there’s a dead body but who’s to blame? Well, one of them, clearly.
The shaky camera work of the opening scenes may have suggested elements of The Blair Witch Project but it soon became clear these were the childhood videos depicting the relationship between a young couple.
The voiceover narrating their life thus far revealed to be the groom standing beside his young, and heavily pregnant, wife. Cue instant shock value as, fresh back from honeymoon, they now lie dead in their home with the knife-wielding killer standing over them.
This is where the first element of intrigue kicks in. Rather than run for the hills the ‘killer’ heads to the home of his victims’ family, confusing no? Crashing his car during a rather evil Scottish storm he is dragged to safety by Rob Elliot (Joe Dempsie), oldest brother of the Elliot family and brother to the talented and caring Claire (Joanna Vanderham), siblings of recently deceased Adam. Both give gripping, real performances but then the key selling point of this kind of piece is the cast.
Let’s face it – nobody does snotty faced crying more effectively than Juliet Stevenson (I still remember the opening scenes of Truly, Madly, Deeply) and she is wonderful as the alcoholic head of the Elliot family. Julie Graham more than holds her own on the other side of the fence, proving an effective contrast to Stevenson’s brooding melancholy, Graham is brusque and cutting in the face of tragedy.
Yet my measure of whether this would be a halfway decent piece was secured as soon as John Lynch entered the frame. As father to the recently murdered young girl, Bill Douglas appears as something of a lynchpin bringing all together with his secure, dependable manner.
Throw in a dodgy DI selling drugs to fund treatment for her ill daughter, family secrets and lies and a rising dramatic score and you’ve got all the pieces in a place for a satisfying mystery. This isn’t Broadchurch but it is well-made, polished and solidly good viewing for a Tuesday night hinting at the Autumn dramas to come.
By the time the credits roll you’re left with several questions: for a start what Ade Edmondson is up to; what other issues do the two families have to reveal, and, most importantly, which ‘one of them’ did indeed do it?
- Aired on BBC1, August 23 2016 at 21:00.