You know how sometimes you’ll get a DVD set and make plans to watch and then life happens and you don’t get back to it for a while? Several months ago I’d ordered the DVDs for the BBC/HBO produced series “Five Days” (aired in 2007) and “Five Days II” (aired in 2010; as a BBC production). I spent one night recently marathoning all five episodes of the first series in one go, and to say I was hooked from start to finish would be an understatement. I wanted to know what was next.
Nothing is what it seems. That is the tag line for the show. There are often no cut and dry answers, people are fallible, and emotions run strong.
The first series involves a woman who disappears from a motorway lay-by after going to buy a bouquet of flowers from a vendor, while her two young children wait in the car. A lorry passes through the lay-by and after that the older boy goes looking for his mother, who is nowhere to be found, and the vendor packing up his vehicle, and the mother’s bouquet is lying on the ground. At a loss for where their mother is, the two children leave the car, hand-in-hand, looking for help. An older teenaged daughter from a previous marriage, and the woman’s husband and parents are distraught once the police learn of the tragedy. There’s so much going on, with a large phenomenal cast, and three tracks proceeding over the course of the 70+ day investigation: the family’s story, the police investigation and the media’s over-involvement in the case – that rivals the Madeline McCann media mob. Each episode follows different days within that 70+ day period.
Written by Gwyneth Hughes, directed by Otto Bathurst and Simon Curtis, the show boasts a tremendous cast: including up to 50 characters, whose parts throughout further the story. The primary cast of the first series is led by Penelope Wilton (Barbara Poole) and Patrick Malahide (John Poole) as the parents of the missing woman, Leanne (Christine Tremarco), David Oyelowo (Matt Wellings) as her husband. Other primary cast include: Harriet Walter, Hugh Bonneville, Janet McTeer, Charlie Creed-Miles, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Phil Davis, Christopher Fairbanks, Edward Woodward, Sarah Smart, Michelle Bonnard.
The only trailer I could find had Dutch subtitles. Apparently a different ending was filmed for the HBO airing in the US.
In series two, which I’ve just started the first two episodes, there is equally compelling storyline with its own set of five episodes, over an investigation into what initially seemed like a woman in a niqab jumping to her death off a bridge into the path of an on-coming train, and the abandonment of a new baby in a hospital handicapped bathroom. Are they linked and if so, how?
What starts off with a Detective Constable Laurie Franklin (Suranne Jones) taking her mother, Jen Mason (Anne Reid) to a hospital appointment, but on the journey, the train jerks to a stop. When it’s discovered the reason for the stop, several of the passengers decide to take off rather than hang about and give reports to the police. Two young lads, not being where they’re supposed to be, horsing around the rail lines, unknowingly catch some video on their mobiles until checking them after the fact. But who exactly is this ‘jumper’ and were they actually pushed, and who left the baby in the loo.
As with the first series, the cast is pretty superb. In addition to Jones and Reid, the cast is rounded out by Derek Riddel, Nina Sosanya, Bernard Hill, Ashley Walters, David Morrissey, Shaun Dooley, Sasha Dhawan, Matthew McNulty, Hugo Spear, amongst many others.
I can’t wait to see what happens next. 🙂