Utopia

Series 1 - Episode 1

Radio Times
Review by:
David Butcher

You know from the first scene that Channel 4’s new conspiracy thriller is strong stuff. We’re in a comic shop. Two strangers enter and start asking questions. Then they start gassing people. It’s blank and strange and it gives you the sense that we’re in a world where nobody is safe – just what you want in this sort of thing.

From there, we have to do our own jigsaw work with oddly shaped pieces of plot. Someone is blackmailing a civil servant, who prepares to take his own life. An 11-year-old boy eats a salad cream sandwich and sets about breaking into a car. An IT worker has a row with his boss. A student pitches to do a PhD on a legendary graphic novel... And that graphic novel is at the heart of this six-part series.

Some incredibly nasty men are after the manuscript, which contains dark secrets, and soon the members of an online forum devoted to it are sucked into real-world horrors.

The story is scripted cleverly and filmed with a kind of flat, haunting beauty. Oh, and Stephen Rea from The Shadow Line is in it, too. He only has about two lines to say, but he’s brilliant.

About this programme

1/6. Five members of an online forum agree to meet after gaining possession of the original manuscript for fabled graphic novel The Utopia Experiments. Unbeknown to them, a shadowy organisation known as the Network is in pursuit of the comic book and its agents are prepared to kill to secure the prize. Thriller, starring Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Alexandra Roach, Adeel Akhtar, Paul Higgins and Stephen Rea.

Cast and crew

Cast

Wilson Wilson
Adeel Akhtar
The Assistant
James Fox
Dugdale
Paul Higgins
Arby
Neil Maskell
Jessica Hyde
Fiona O'Shaughnessy
Geoff
Alistair Petrie
Conran Letts
Stephen Rea
Becky
Alexandra Roach
Ian
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett
Grant
Oliver Woollford
Greg
Oliver Dimsdale
Jen
Ruth Gemmell
Anya
Anna Madeley
Lee
Paul Ready
Reynolds
Michael Smiley
Bejan
Mark Stobbart
Det Leeman
Gary Cargill
Grant’s mum
Sarah Churm
Roy
Paapa Essiedu
Marcus
Simon Farnaby
Diane
Hermione Gulliford
Teenager
Joshua James
Clerk
Danny Kirrane
Bev
Eleanor Matsuura
Joe
Gerard Monaco
Lawyer
Andrew Readman
Milton Wilson
Stewart Scudamore
Large man
Gavin Spokes
Headteacher
Dan Tetsell

Crew

Director
Marc Munden
Executive Producer
Karen Wilson
Executive Producer
Jane Featherstone
Executive Producer
Dennis Kelly
Producer
Rebekah Wray-Rogers
Writer
Dennis Kelly
Categories
Drama