A boy found dead in a beautiful part of the world? A group of suspects in a small, tight-knit community constantly looking over their shoulders? An eight-part drama that will keep you guessing right up until the end about who the culprit is?
No, this isn’t Broadchurch you are reading about, but Glue – the hot new E4 drama series from the pen of Jack Thorne.
Yes, Thorne – the man behind This Is England ’86 and ’88, Skins and The Fades – has penned a murder mystery set in the countryside. One of the coolest TV writers around has swapped his (and of course E4’s) familiar urban setting for the smell of silage and green fields. And, judging by last night’s premiere, it is worth the journey.
Adolescents in the country are, as Thorne has realised, like adolescents anywhere in Britain, only perhaps more bored. And this is reflected in the story of a group of friends who begin the drama jumping into a grain silo and getting wrecked on drink and puff and “white”, only to find that the next morning they have to contend with the death of their friend Cal as well as their thumping hangovers.
So, Who Killed Cal? Was it Charlotte Spencer’s Tina (pictured), the wild horse trainer with the unfaithful boyfriend Rob (played by one half of Rizzle Kicks, Jordan Stephens, in his first major acting role)? Or what about his brother Eli (Callum Turner)? And what is Faye Marsay’s Janine hiding?
More importantly, will Who Killed Cal? be the question on the lips of the British people in the same way that Who Killed Danny Latimer? was when Broadchurch series one was airing? Maybe. Because there is a real energy about this, a sense of youth drama delving bravely outside its comfort zone into areas it hasn’t explored before and coming up with a pretty compelling piece of television. Although, of course we will have to see episodes two to eight before we can be sure.
And in case any of you were thinking that Glue had borrowed anything from Broadchurch, think again. At the screening, executive producer Jamie Campbell told me that Glue was commissioned in the same week that the Broadchurch commission was announced by ITV. “We thought it would be a problem at first but the success of Broadchurch shows the appetite for murder mystery.” So there.