I’m worried. Really worried. About Unforgotten. I watched this week’s episode as I’d watched the first two, rapt and absorbed. I love it and Nicola Walker is just brilliant – so intent and understated – as detective Cassie Stuart.
But then I was gripped by The Fear. And that fear is that Unforgotten will have a rubbish ending. We surely all have that that little demon nibbling our consciousness as we fall head first into what looks like the most wonderful drama.
We’ll be transported and engaged, but that teeny tiny rasping voice will be whispering “Yes, you’re enjoying this now, but you know that the ending will be abysmal, don’t you? Endings are always abysmal. You always hope they won’t be, but they always are. More fool you, sucker!”
Look at Doctor Foster, the BBC1 drama starring superb Suranne Jones as a respected small-town GP brought low by her husband’s infidelity. I was thrilled by it, with Dr F, twisted by internalised fury at the betrayal, not just of her husband but of her supposed friends, the people who knew everything and covered up for him.
This is great, I thought, and other people stopped me, wanting to talk about it. Initially they were keen to share their love, then, as the series wore on, the urgent topic was “Is this story actually going anywhere?”
It didn’t, not really, and ended in the most unsatisfactory, wispy way. So that’s it, we wondered? After five weeks this is our reward?
Surely, then, I can be forgiven for keeping just a little bit of my heart and head in reserve as I watch Unforgotten. But, dear me, it’s difficult. For three weeks I’ve tried to bear in mind that it might simply flake away to nothing in the last instalment, and I’ll be left kicking chairs at yet another six hours of my life, wasted.
But it’s such a great story, a pantheon of terrific actors (Tom Courtenay, Bernard Hill, Hannah Gordon) play characters with secrets who somehow all fit into the sad, truncated life of a young lad called Jimmy, murdered in the late 1970s and buried under a building.
It’s up to Cassie Stuart and her team to weave together the threads of Jimmy’s friends and acquaintances and to find the killer. If nothing else it’s a good, solid police procedural from writer Chris Lang with lots of details to appeal to a crime nerd like me. Oh, I hope it has a cracking ending, I really want it to have a cracking ending.
We’re so hard to please, aren’t we? I currently feel slightly resentful at watching series two of The Returned (Friday 9.00pm More4) after series one had one of the great disappointing endings of recent years. Why should I bother watching what I can’t help but feel is an entirely unnecessary second series when the first let me down so badly?
But there you go, we all want everything to be perfect, and it never is. The great boils of disappointment soon become flaming pustules when infected by social media as everyone’s annoyance bursts into the public domain.
Maybe we should just sit back, open a packet of crisps, and enjoy the trip, knowing that our destination will be a letdown. But we’re prepared for that. We’ll be OK.