TV Highlights

What's on Thursday 5th March

Banished

BBC Two - 9pm

Who's in it?

Russell Tovey as a hard man? Floppy-haired Julian Rhind-Tutt, no longer looking like a ginger Byron? That’s the Jimmy McGovern treatment for you.

In a nutshell

One of our few “name” TV writers, Jimmy McGovern is known for uncompromisingly gritty dramas that are big on passion and low on easy commercial appeal. You usually sit down to watch McGovern dramas knowing you’ll be challenged and disturbed, and not necessarily “entertained” as such. But Banished looks different.

Sure, it’s set in the harsh world of penal Australia, and is about convicts being literally called “scum” and having to toil under the threat of whippings and hangings, but this is also at heart a costume drama about a bit of rough falling for the wrong woman, and the love triangle that ensues. Something tells us that beneath the veneer of grit, it’s going to be a big juicy romantic saga, and a bit of a departure for McGovern. Expect lots of shouting, agonised looks, tender caresses and stolen glances – Neighbours it ain’t.

What's the verdict?

Worth it just to see Russell Tovey cast wildly against type as a no-nonsense bloke’s bloke, Banished probably won’t set the critics alight with delight, but it’s bound to be an enjoyable romp Down Under anyway. Yes, a Jimmy McGovern romp. Strewth.

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07-07-2011