Martina Cole's The Runaway

Series 1 - Episode 1

Radio Times
Review by:
Jane Rackham

Delivering a punch to the solar plexus in almost every scene, Martina Cole's relentlessly brutal story about a pair of childhood sweethearts caught up in the violence of 1960s East End London is light years from the gentility of Midsomer Murders and clinical forensics of a CSI. In Cole's world mothers are prostitutes who'd save their own skins rather than their daughters, men are foul-mouthed bullies or vicious gangsters and even the police aren't averse to twisting the law when necessary. Newcomer Joanna Vanderham is nicely understated as Cathy, Jack O'Connell (Skins) scrubs up well to play her love interest Eamonn while Keith Allen wears the worst syrup imaginable as local gangster Danny. Although not in this first episode, Alan Cumming returns to British TV for the first time in 15 years to play transvestite Desrae while Ken Stott and Burn Gorman give additional weight to the cast. It's compelling but very nasty and slightly grubby - you may need to take a shower afterwards.

About this programme

1/6. Young Eamonn Docherty endures a tough upbringing with his childhood sweetheart Cathy Connor in the East End of London, and eventually has no choice but to leave. Once the pair are separated, their lives stray onto different but equally unsavoury paths. Starring Joanna Vanderham and Jack O'Connell.

Cast and crew


Cathy Connor
Joanna Vanderham
Eamonn Docherty
Jack O'Connell
Madge Connor
Kierston Wareing
Eammon Docherty Snr
Mark Womack
Alan Cumming
Danny Dixon
Keith Allen