John Simm and Jim Broadbent will probably get all of the attention in BBC1’s superb thriller Exile. Which is fine, they are tremendous – particularly Broadbent as a former journalist now suffering in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.
But watch Olivia Colman closely. She plays Simm’s sister and Broadbent’s daughter and carer, the one left at home with her failing father for years after her brother went to find his fortune in London. She is our way into the story and she is quietly magnificent.
The role is unshowy; Nancy is a woman who has tamped down years of resentment as she cares with great love for a father who can be violent and disruptive. Nancy’s best years have gone and she is just as much a casualty of this cruel illness as her dad.
After so long in comedy roles in Peep Show, Rev and latterly Twenty Twelve, Colman now deserves proper recognition.