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20th Feb 2024

New ‘nightmarish’ BBC drama about UK revolution ‘like nothing else on TV’

Charlie Herbert

The Way BBC drama

It ‘makes you sit up and take notice’

A new BBC drama has been described as “nightmarish” and “like nothing else on TV” after it was released this week.

On Monday, the first episode of The Way was broadcast on BBC One. The three-part drama sees Michael Sheen make his directorial debut, is written by James Graham and is directed by famed documentary maker Adam Curtis.

Sheen also stars in the series alongside the likes of Steffan Rhodri (Steeltown Murders, Gavin and Stacey), Mali Harries (Keeping Faith, Hinterland), Sophie Melville (The Pact, Iphigenia In Splott) and Callum Scott Howells (It’s A Sin, Cabaret).

The Way tells the story of “an ordinary family caught up in an extraordinary chain of events that ripple out from their hometown.”

The synopsis for the series reads: “The Way taps into the social and political chaos of today’s world by imagining a civil uprising which begins in a small industrial town.

“Fleeing unrest, The Driscolls are forced to escape the country they’ve always called home and the certainties of their old lives.

“Will they be overwhelmed by their memories of the past, or will they lay their ghosts to rest and take the risk of an unknown future?”

Following the first episode’s broadcast on Monday night (February 19), the show has already been described as “like nothing else on TV.”

In a four-star review for the Guardian, Lucy Mangan described The Way as “utterly innovative”, saying that the opening episode is “so different and fresh.”

She wrote: “Even if you can’t say you’re actively enjoying it (though I was), the power and ambition of it all, the unashamed idiosyncrasy that permeates the direction, the allusiveness of the narrative and its slightly dreamlike (or nightmarish) off-kilter quality surely makes you sit up and take notice.

“It has a clear, accessible narrative at its heart, for sure, but the sensibility is rare and all its own.”

The first episode of The Way aired on February 19 (BBC)

These sentiments haven’t been echoed across the world of reviews though, with some giving it The Way more lukewarm – if not freezing cold – reaction.

Den of Geek gave it three stars out of five, praising it as a “wild throwback to the society-falls-apart TV of the past” but criticising its “insistence on explaining its mad moments, and worse, over-explaining them.”

The Independent lauded the show’s “tremendous assembly of Welsh talent” but labelled it a “mess” in a two-star review, whilst the Evening Standard gave the drama a scathing one-star review, accusing it of ruining a “good idea with cliché and stereotype.”

You’ll have to make up your own mind on the worth of the BBC’s latest drama offering then, but with the series only consisting of three hour-long episodes this won’t take you long to binge.

All three episodes of The Way are available to watch on iPlayer now.

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