If you’re looking for a British version of the angst-ridden teen dramas such as The Secret Circle or The Vampire Diaries, then Switch may not be for you. If you’ve wondered what might have happened to Sabrina the Teenage Witch when she grew up – or indeed enjoyed the short-lived Bewitched spin-off, Tabitha – then Switch’s blend of humour, self-mockery and occasional pathos is likely to appeal.
It’s very clearly aimed at ITV2’s demographic: four childhood friends who have started to go their separate ways as they grow older (growing up definitely isn’t a phrase you’d apply to all of them by any means!) still need each other and their lives continue to intertwine as they share a flat in trendy Camden. Each one represents one of the elements so all four are needed before they can cast a spell, and they need something representative of their element: this inevitably leads to chaos!
The show comes from the Being Human production team, but it’s a lot lighter than Toby Whithouse’s series (which, incidentally, looks as if it’ll be really strong when it returns in the New Year, if the set visit a couple of weeks is anything to go by). In fact this opening episode is almost too light and fluffy – until we reach the climax, and we realise that perhaps things aren’t quite as easy for the girls as it might seem.
The casting is one of Switch’s strengths: the central quartet fit the bill perfectly, with Lacey Turner showing yet more sides to her acting abilities, Phoebe Fox making the transition to series television without a murmur; Nina Toussaint-White as mad here as she was playing Mels in Doctor Who last year; and Hannah Tointon capturing the mix of flighty and focused that her part requires. There’s a good supporting cast as well, with Caroline Quentin playing her hurt earth-mother characterisation at just the slightly heightened pitch it requires.
Verdict: A well put-together light drama opener that will make you want to learn more about the characters and their relationships. 7/10
Switch airs on ITV2 starting October 15