Liar, starring Joanne Froggatt, Ioan Gruffudd

2 BROTHERS PICTURES For Itv LIAR EPISODE 1 Pictured: JOANNE FROGGATT as Laura Nielson AND IOAN GRUFFUDD as Andrew Earlham. Photographer JOSS BARRATT This photograph is (C) iTV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com

Where does the truth lie? Joanne Froggatt as Laura Nielson and Ioan Gruffudd as Andrew Earlham

What happens when a first date does horrifically wrong for a young woman?

★★★ ITV, starts Monday, 11 September, 9pm

LIAR IS A SHARPLY written psycho-thriller dealing with a delicate theme. It stars Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd as a couple tentatively going out on a first date.

He plays Andrew, a surgeon and a single parent, while she is Laura, a teacher just coming out of a long-term relationship. His son is in her class.

There’s an attraction and they meet up for dinner. However, when Laura wakes up later she suspects she has been drugged.

Is Ioan Gruffudd’s character the Liar?

What happened? A devastated Laura tells her account to police, while Andrew insists on his innocence. Both are plausible…

2 BROTHERS PICTURES For Itv LIAR EPISODE 1 Pictured: JOANNE FROGGATT as Laura Nielson. Photographer JOSS BARRATT This photograph is (C) iTV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com

Piecing together what happened – Laura

Date rape is a serious subject and one that the writers, brothers Harry and Jack Williams, have attempted to treat sensitively. At the same time the drama works as a compelling story with strong characters and tension.

Ioan Gruffudd is convincing as the dad who is either a psychopathic-level liar, or a seriously wronged man.

Joanne Froggatt’s superb performance

Joanne Froggatt has the further emotional distance to cover as Laura, upbeat and confident at the start, and a damaged woman before the end of episode one. The former Downton actor shows here why she has become one of ITV’s leading stars.

The Williams brothers are the duo behind the BBC’s powerful drama The Missing. In Liar they again play with the timeframe to throw us back and forwards in the narrative as Laura remembers more of what happened on the fateful night.

A sign of the duo’s rising status in the drama-writing world is that on Monday night BBC1 has scheduled another series by them, Rellik, to go up against Liar.

2 BROTHERS PICTURES For Itv LIAR EPISODE 1 Pictured: DANNY WEBB as DS Rory Maxwell and SHELLEY CONN as DI Vanessa Harmon. Photographer JOSS BARRATT This photograph is (C) iTV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com

Questions – Danny Webb and Shelley Conn as the investigating detectives

The Missing was an unforgettable series. Liar is more intimate but still intriguing. It is difficult to guess which way the story is going to go.

I formed an early suspicion about what would happen and many viewers may come up with other views. It will be interesting to see where the story goes over the entire six episodes.

• UPDATE Having seen the second episode, I’ve knocked a star off Liar‘s rating. It often happens with series that the first episode sets up the story well, which then in the second descends into implausibility. Laura breaking into Andrew’s house, losing her earring, the ex-boyfriend organising the police raid on Andrew’s home, Laura continuing to teach Andrew’s son – it’s way too contrived and unbelievable. 

Ringer with Sarah Michelle Gellar PREVIEW

Siobhan and Bridget – two Sarah Michelle Gellars for the price of one. Pic: Sky Living
Rating ★★½
Sky Living, from Thursday 29 September, 8pm
The trouble with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s new thriller series Ringer is that it’s hard to tell it apart from a really silly drama. 
It’s the spitting image of a show whose story is so daft it’s almost funny. It bears an uncanny resemblance to a series that’ll have many viewers thinking, How the heck did this get made? 
All right, you’ve guessed it. Ringer is no ringer of a dud show. It’s the real deal.
 
Addict and ex-stripper
It’s Gellar’s first outing since she finished vampire slaying as Buffy in 2003. She’s had plenty of time to cherry-pick a cracking series for the next phase of her TV career, after a string of forgettable films (Southland Tales, Veronika Decides to Die etc). But why she chose this show is a bigger mystery than anything Ringer can throw at us.
She plays recovering addict and ex-stripper Bridget, who we meet as she is about to testify as a witness in a murder case. Afraid, she slugs the cop guarding her and goes on the run.
To the home of her estranged  and wealthy twin, Siobhan, whom she hasn’t seen for six years. Here the story spirals into the realm of stark staring implausibility. 
Worst back-projection seen since the 1950s
Siobhan is married to millionaire Andrew, but has strangely never mentioned to him that she has a twin sister. So, somehow having a sister has slipped Siobhan’s mind, and she obviously hasn’t got any family snap shots for Andrew to see.
No sooner have Bridget and Siobhan reconnected than Siobhan apparently disappears over the side of her motor boat – which is totally unbelievable because the sea scene is obviously filmed in a studio and features the worst back-projection seen since the 1950s. 
 
This allows Bridget to step into Siobhan’s shoes, not that the latter’s husband, lover, daughter or best friend notice. Thereafter the viewer will sit agog, groaning, ‘But surely…’ and ‘How could they not realise?’ and ‘Oh, come on!’
Siobhan – aka Bridget – is pregnant
When Bridget discovers that Siobhan is pregnant, she stupidly blurts it out in front of Andrew, creating another gigantic problem for herself – now she has to deceive everyone and pretend to be pregnant. And inevitably, it turns out Siobhan is leading as dangerous a life as Bridget, having a homicidal maniac after her that Bridget has to deal with.

What could have been an intriguing premise gets buried under a tsunami of bonkers improbabilities. The best that could happen for the series is that it might emerge as a bit of camp fun with its B-movie back projection and soapy plot.  

Andrew, by the way, is played by Ioan Gruffud, who must have thought he’d hit the big time in The Fantastic Four after making his name in Hornblower. Well, like Gellar, it seems unlikely he’ll be blowing his trumpet about Ringer.

Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar Bridget Kelly and Siobhan Martin, Ioan Gruffudd Andrew Martin, Kristoffer Polaha Henry Butler, Nestor Carbonell Victor Machado, Tara Summers Gemma Butler, Mike Colter Malcolm Ward

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