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You may have read that Jimmy McGovern’s new drama tackles injustice in the legal system and your heart may not have leapt at the prospect. But pack your scepticism in a shoebox and put it away under the stairs, because McGovern is one of our very best TV dramatists and Common is a belter of a story. It reminds us that you don’t so much watch a McGovern drama as go a few rounds with it, to emerge battered and bruised.
The story centres on Johnjo, a naive 17-year-old whom we first meet drumming his fingers on the steering wheel of his brother’s car as he waits for some older friends to emerge from the pizza parlour he has given them a lift to. Then all hell breaks loose: one of their number has stabbed someone and Johnjo is suddenly the getaway driver.
The action follows the aftershocks of the incident on both Johnjo’s and the victim’s families: the story belongs in the end to the two mothers involved, beautifully played by Susan Lynch and Jodhi May. It’s a tour de force and the social point McGovern makes is searing.
One-off drama from Jimmy McGovern, exploring the possible consequences of the UK's Joint Enterprise law, by which more than one person can be charged with the same offence. Seventeen-year-old Johnjo gives his cousin Tony and some friends a lift to a pizza parlour for food, unaware their real intention is to `sort out' a local loudmouth. Things soon get out of hand, however, and an innocent bystander is fatally stabbed - and despite being in the car all the time, Johnjo finds himself charged with murder along with everyone else. Nico Mirallegro heads a cast that also includes Susan Lynch, Daniel Mays, Jodhi May, Robert Pugh and Michelle Fairley.
Cast & Crew
Philip Hill Pearson
Crown Court judge
Royal Courts clerk
DC Jane Pearson
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