TV boxsets of the week: Fleabag, Silent Witness and Unforgotten

These are the latest must-watch TV recommendations from The Yorkshire Post features team.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in a scene from Fleabag. Picture: Amazon/AP
Phoebe Waller-Bridge in a scene from Fleabag. Picture: Amazon/AP

Fleabag

Available on BBC iPlayer

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Review by Yvette Huddleston

Emilia Fox plays Dr Nikki Alexander in Silent Witness. Picture: PA Photo/BBC/Hal Shinnie.

Rightly showered with awards, including a Bafta, a Golden Globe and six Emmys, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s phenomenally successful comedy-drama was based on her self-penned one-woman stage show which won a Fringe First Award in Edinburgh in 2013.

Waller-Bridge adapted it for television and it was initially broadcast on BBC Three, then BBC2 in 2016. She stars as the title character, a feisty yet troubled young woman who in the first series is struggling with bereavement, having recently lost her best friend. The circumstances in which this happened eventually play out in a shocking denouement.

Waller-Bridge bravely chose to employ the theatrical technique of breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience – bravely, because it doesn’t always work on television – and it paid off in spades, largely because of her own engagingly conspiratorial style. Fleabag is a candid, gritty exploration of one young woman’s experience of love, sex and relationships. It is frequently laugh out loud funny and often moving.

Myth-exploding and taboo-breaking, particularly in series two in which Fleabag falls for “hot priest” (a phrase which has now entered the lexicon) Andrew Scott, it also features a delicious turn from the ever wonderful Olivia Colman, cast against type as “evil stepmother” Claire. Both series are now available on BBC iPlayer. Go on, watch it again; you know you want to...

Sanjeev Bhaskar as DI Sunny Khan and Nicola Walker as DCI Cassie Stuart in Unforgotten. Picture: PA

Silent Witness

Available on BBC iPlayer

Review by Laura Reid

If you’re looking for a TV show to keep you entertained throughout the entire period of social distancing, then look no further than crime classic Silent Witness. With 23 series, there’s plenty of episodes to go at to pass the time – and the vast majority (176 to be precise) are available to watch through BBC iPlayer.

The programmes provide an opportunity to channel your inner detective. As the lead characters – a team of forensic pathologists – work to investigate a varying number of crimes, you’ll often find yourself sucked into complex ‘whodunnit’ thinking.

There are unexpected twists as clues emerge and the team build a picture of what has happened and who is the culprit.

And whether your thoughts are on the money, or you find yourself pressing pause to piece together the developments, there’s a great enjoyment in following through the mysteries and seeing them resolved.

Unforgotten

Available on Netflix

Review by Yvette Huddleston

This critically acclaimed, award-winning cold case crime drama by screenwriter Chris Lang was first broadcast on ITV back in 2015 and immediately won well-deserved plaudits from critics and audiences alike.

Starring Nicola Walker as DCI Cassie Stuart and Sanjeev Bhaskar as her second in command DI Sunny Khan, it is a gripping, beautifully-scripted drama focussing on a team of Met police detectives working on historical cases of murder and disappearance. Each series, consisting of six episodes, follows one case through, carefully threading together storylines of multiple characters who have a connection to the victim.

What makes this different from most other crime thrillers is the warmth and humanity of its lead characters. DCI Stuart and her team are not just another bunch of cops in a race against time scenario, they are also negotiating incredibly complex emotional territory, dealing with people who have had to cope with the disappearance of a loved one and have lived through several years without answers to their questions or closure. They navigate all that with great skill and empathy.

There is a nice bantering chemistry between Walker and Bhaskar who have their own tricky domestic issues – he is a single father to two teenage daughters, she lives with her grown-up son and widowed father who is showing signs of dementia.

Their performances are outstanding and the quality of the guest actors is exceptional – they have included Tom Courtenay, Alex Jennings, Neil Morrissey, Gemma Jones and Cherie Lunghi. Series 1-3 are now streaming on Netflix.

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