Ordinary Lies was a brilliantly powerful drama… but does that mean it needs a second series?

Danny Brocklehurst's gripping creation definitely deserves celebrating, but Kasia Delgado wonders whether we should just leave some dramas alone when they end so well...

BBC1 outdid itself this year with mesmerising, haunting drama Ordinary Lies. It wasn’t just the cast of Jo Joyner, Shaun Dooley, Mackenzie Crook, Jason Manford and plenty more great names, it was also the gut-wrenching writing. The final episode, in which Beth (Joyner) is reunited with missing husband Dave (Dooley) is some of the most agonisingly tense drama I’ve seen in a long time.


So there’ll be a second series, right? Probably. It hasn’t been commissioned yet but I’d imagine it’s only a matter of time. As the finale’s credits rolled, viewers desperately called for a series two, and writer Danny Brocklehurst told RadioTimes.com that he was developing ideas for a next instalment.

“There’d better be a second series! From the figures I’ve seen, I think we deserve one, and the reaction from the public’s been amazing.”

And he’s right, it absolutely does “deserve” a second series. These days it’s rare that a brilliantly-written ratings hit doesn’t get round two. I’d be very surprised if Ordinary Lies, like Broadchurch and The Missing, isn’t back on our TV screens again.

But does deserving a second series mean it’s actually a good idea? The final episode of Ordinary Lies ended on a perfect note  an element of closure for the main characters but with enough uncertainty to make it true to life. We’d learnt colossal secrets from the Car Showroom staff over the weeks and the final episode was a gripping end to it all. I’m worried that a second series could dilute the power of the first. 

Just as series two of Broadchurch provided some short-term pleasure to fans who wanted more Colman and Tennant, I bet that now, many people wish ITV had stuck to just one series. It just didn’t live up to the hype, and tainted haunting memories of the original episodes. Equally, the decision to make The Missing two is a strange one. The finale beautifully encapsulated the horror of losing a child and being denied any closure. Why even risk messing with that?

Having said all this, I do have faith in Danny Brocklehurst’s ideas for the second series, and if anyone will make it work, it’ll be him. When I asked him how he envisioned a second series, he said he’d bring some background characters to the fore while still involving the major players.

“We’d want to inject some new characters in it to give you somewhere to go with new stories and secrets,” he said.  “Fat Jase could get his own story, for example. If you’ve got actors like Max [Beesley] and Jo [Joyner] and Sally [Lindsay] you want to give them good stuff to do, but you also need to bring some new life into it.”


For Brocklehurst’s sake, I hope a new series is commissioned, because I am intrigued to see how it’ll work. Maybe it’ll be just as gripping as the first, and I hope it is. But I take issue with this idea that because something is good, we definitely need more of it. Often, imagining what happened to your favourite characters is far more exciting than actually finding out…