TV Highlights

The Driver

BBC One - 9pm

Who's in it?

David Morrissey put on his best serious face (we say "best" – it's pretty much his only expression, let's face it) in this gripping, gritty thriller.

In a nutshell

Some of us like to think of Colm Meaney as a nice man. Good old cuddly Colm Meaney, manning the transporter in Star Trek, crooning a bit of Elvis in bittersweet Roddy Doyle adaptations, and being loveably roguish as Detective Gene Hunt in Life on Mars (we're not making that up – he played the part in a doomed US version). Of course, there's another Colm Meaney, who's not so nice. Guess which Colm Meaney we got last night. Clue: his character was a businessman called The Horse.

Legitimate businessmen don't tend to be called The Horse. They tend to be called Clive, or Nigel, or John. So yes, Colm is the Big Bad of this new drama, stealing scenes when he's not stealing loot. David Morrissey, our protagonist, is a less colourful sort of chap: your standard issue angsty middle aged man who can't stand his wife and thinks his life is a giant grey abyss and decides to become a getaway driver for a criminal gang. OK, not exactly your standard mid-life crisis, but this opening episode – steely-bleak, and suitably cinematic – did a great job of depicting the seductive power of wickedness, and the immediate moral queasiness that comes with it. Expect terrible things to come – in a good way.

What's the verdict?

If there's one thing we've learnt from TV-land in recent years, it's that we love seeing good (or at least ordinary) men "break bad". David Morrissey's certainly in his element as the conflicted criminal wannabe, and with not-nice Colm Meaney as a colourfully named gangster, what's not to like?

Star rating: 4/5

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