It’s the hallmark of a good creepy drama that, even when watching it in broad daylight, the sound of the central heating kicking in in your own home makes you jump. Gwyneth Hughes’ new ghost story ticks all the right boxes for an unsettling hour, from the opening shots of Michael Palin methodically preparing for his departure to the old people’s home – intercut with other scenes that we’re not sure are hallucinations, dreams or memories – to the lights (of various descriptions) going on or off at the wrong moments. And that’s before Scarborough Fair starts to weave its spell… (and anyone got a good way to clear that from your brain?)
Hughes’ script is brought to life by strong casting – not just Palin, whose character unsettles you right from the start (his “post-modernly ironic” racist comments and his “inability” to remember his age or his GP’s name are clear flags of someone not who he’s claiming to be), but also Jodie Comer’s Hannah, and Mark Addy’s self-doubting police acting sergeant. Ashley Pearce’s direction is rock solid, using weird camera angles, odd lighting, shadows and judicious music stings (rather than the cotninuous underscore that we get far too often nowadays) to emphasize the oddity of the situation.
Verdict: A chilling hour which asks far more questions than it answers. 9/10