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

Johnjo O'Shea Nico Mirallegro
Tony Wallace Philip Hill Pearson
Kieran Gillespie Andrew Ellis
Colin McCabe Jack McMullen
Coleen O'Shea Jodhi May
Peter O'Shea Andrew Tiernan
Patrick O'Shea Ben Smith
Karen O'Shea Finn Atkins
DI Hastings Robert Pugh
Margaret Ward Susan Lynch
Tommy Ward Daniel Mays
Julie Ward Samantha Oliver
Thomas Ward Harry McMullen
Hugo Davies Dean Smith
Albie Flanagan Liam Ainsworth
Shelagh Wallace Michelle Fairley
Barnes Williams David Westhead
Leon King Chu Omambala
Crown Court judge Michael Gambon
Royal Courts clerk Will Travis
DC Jane Pearson Louise Delamere
Defence lawyer Juliet Ellis
Prosecution lawyer James Nickerson
Magistrate Marie Critchley
Police officer Julian Gorman
Liaison officer Kirsty-Leigh Porter
Jennifer Fielding Tanya Moodie
Hugo's lawyer Mark Chatterton
Bank manager Richard Sinnott
Civil servant Connie Hyde
Undertaker Graham Padden
Director David Blair
Executive Producer Jimmy McGovern
Executive Producer Colin McKeown
Producer Colin McKeown
Writer Jimmy McGovern
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