Rellik starring Richard Dormer, Jodi Balfour

Programme Name: Rellik - TX: n/a - Episode: Rellik - Generics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Gabriel (RICHARD DORMER), Elaine Shepard (JODI BALFOUR) - (C) New Pictures - Photographer: Joss Barratt

Marked man – Markham (Richard Dormer) and Elaine Shepard (Jodi Balfour)

Pay attention! This intriguing hunt for a serial killer is told backwards…

★★★★

BBC1, starts Monday, 11 September, 9pm

IF YOU’RE the kind of person that likes to come in from work, switch on the box and enjoy a cosy drama with a beginning, middle and end, Rellik is not for you. Try Doc Martin – it’s just started a new series on the other side.

Rellik is about DCI Gabriel Markham’s attempt to track down a serial killer. He’s personally invested in the case because the culprit burned his face with acid.

But the most singular aspect to the story is not its disfigured hero, but that it is told in reverse. You, the viewer, are not spoon-fed here – you have to work at this one.

I admit that as I watched I had to keep saying to myself, Hang on, what’s happening again?

Rellik is written by Harry and Jack Williams

So, what’s the point of all this buggering about with the narrative? The pay-off should be that as we delve into the past we should eventually find out who the monstrous killer is and how he got that way.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/09/2017 - Programme Name: Rellik - TX: n/a - Episode: Rellik - Ep 1 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *STRICTLY NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS, TUESDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER, 2017* Gabriel (RICHARD DORMER) - (C) New Pictures - Photographer: Joss Barratt

Shrouded in mystery – Markham on the trail of a serial killer

It’s written by Harry and Jack Williams, who have also written the ITV series Liar (see preview below), which the TV bosses have fiendishly scheduled in the same time slot on the other side. Quite an achievement to have two big news series competing against each other like this.

They were also behind The Missing, the hard-hitting BBC series that was also inventive with its structure. So what are they playing at? Responding to the question with one voice, they say, ‘Playing with story and structure and trying to find new ways to tell stories is something we’re fascinated by, so it started there [working on The Missing].

‘But we didn’t want it to be a technical exercise so we had to ask ourselves why you’d tell a story that way. It became clear quite quickly that it was all about motive. That things happen for a reason and those reasons lie in the past. So, what happens when you start at the end and find your way back to the past sounded like an interesting thing to explore.’

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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. 

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