Save Me, Sky Atlantic, Lennie James, Suranne Jones

Save Me, Sky Atlantic

Stephen Graham, Lennie James and Suranne Jones

An estranged father feels compelled to join the hunt for his missing daughter in this London-set thriller

★★★★ Sky Atlantic, Wednesday, 28 February, 9pm

NELSON ‘NELLY’ ROWE is a chancer, barfly and bit of a rogue. However, he’s shaken out of his comfort zone when he is accused of abducting his estranged 13-year-old daughter, Jody.

The reason he doesn’t see Jody is because she is the result of a summer fling years ago. Her mother, Claire, has not forgotten Nelly, however. She is convinced he has snatched her girl.

Reunited – Suranne Jones as Claire McGory and Lennie James as ‘Nelly’ Rowe

Nelly suddenly realises what he has missed by ignoring Jody. Arrested and horrified to be considered a kidnapper, he resolves to find out where she is.

Suranne Jones and Stephen Graham

This six-parter is nicely written by its star, Lennie James, here a long way from The Walking Dead. The setting is a south London council estate, where life revolves around the local boozer.

The top-notch case includes Suranne Jones as Claire, and Stephen Graham as ‘Melon’, the friend with a secret. Jason Flemyng plays Tam, Nelly’s cross-dressing ally, and Susan Lynch is Stace, landlady of the Palm Tree pub.

A twist to the story is the new man in Claire’s life, Barry (actor Barry Ward). Jody’s adoptive father warns Nelly off, but he appears to have serious problems of his own with some unsavoury characters.

Lennie James as Nellie

It’s a refreshing change to see a drama that is not about lovely middle-class types. These are ordinary folk at the lower end of the social scale, but the characters are well realised and pose intriguing questions.

Spooked – Stephen Graham as Fabio ‘Melon’ Melanzana

What has happened to Jody? Has she fallen victim to a paedophile on the estate? Or is Barry in some way involved?

Lennie James has a good appreciation of this group of characters, most of all Nelly. Fifteen years before Nelly would have ruled the Palm Tree and been a big hit with ladies.

He’s a badly faded local face now. Seeing whether he will be able to finally redeem himself should make Save Me a gripping series.

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