Political drama Roadkill premiered on BBC One with Hugh Laurie playing rising Conservative MP Peter Laurence, whose licentious past is about to catch up to him. For some viewers that couldn’t come fast enough as the first episode was “clunky” with “clichéd characters”.
As Roadkill opened, Laurence had just won a libel case and the reporter, Charmian Pepper (Sarah Greene), had lost her job as a result. But she vowed to expose the sulphurous truth about Laurence and his visit to prison to meet an inmate who represented a daughter he knew nothing about would appear to be the way she will do it.
Roadkill caught some criticism for the depiction of Pepper as a bed-hopping recovering alcoholic.
Please, please, PLEASE BBC employ more women writers to write believable women characters. Your nine o’clock slot for the last two shows has just been one long, male midlife crisis.
With the female characters in #RoadKill you’ve actually peaked.
— Nicky Clark (@MrsNickyClark) October 18, 2020
Another viewer tweeted: “Turns out #Roadkill is a bit s**te. Clichéd characters and appallingly poor story. Turned off.”
There were some positive critiques on Twitter, however.
— Rakshita Patel (@MycroftBrolly) October 18, 2020
The lure of Laurie was a big drawcard for many viewers. One wrote: “I enjoyed #Roadkill but mostly because of seeing Hugh Laurie back on my TV. It was a bit slow but I’m putting that down to scene setting. Hope it picks up in future episodes.”
Wow. Colour me intrigued. What a brilliant first episode. Cast is phenomenal and so is the story.
— Olivia G (@OliviaG37717638) October 18, 2020
The prison in which his mysterious daughter languished erupted in a riot and the Prime Minister Dawn Ellison (Helen McCrory) saw the opportunity to stitch up the ambitious junior minister – she made Laurence Justice minister so he had to manage the riot.
The credulity of the storyline was questioned by many on social media. “I really wanted to get into a new Sunday night UK drama. I will continue to want So far, its clunky, inaccurate legal processes, stereotypes. The prison scene made me guffaw. I’m laughing for the wrong reasons. At least the cast is “diverse”. #eyeroll. Very good music #Roadkill”.
For some THE LEGAL MISTAKES were distracting from the narrative.
#Roadkill is fun, but dear lord, THE LEGAL MISTAKES are killing me. A criminal barrister? As counsel on a defamation case? Which had a JURY? For which the claimant was in ‘the dock’?! Mercy me. You can almost hear the gavel banging.
— Owen Sparkes (@sparkes_owen) October 18, 2020
He wasn’t alone in questioning the legal research of Roadkill.
“Strange start to new BBC drama #Roadkill It starts with a libel trial with a jury. They tend not to have a jury unless under exceptional circumstances. Then refers to the High Court case – where there are no juries. Basic research should’ve covered that”.
Just to clarify because it's getting a load of stick as being procedurally nonsense, I doubt anything in #Roadkill bears any relation to the truth. It's a tongue in cheek drama and I'd watch Hugh Laurie hamming it up in anything, so just have a laugh, yeah?
— Richard Seamon (@Crewedaddy) October 18, 2020
On the merits of Roadkill, the jury would appear to be out.
Roadkill returns to BBC One on Sunday 25th October.