15 Days is a four-part Channel 5 drama being broadcast over four consecutive nights (which is becoming a welcome trend, following a number of other dramas such as Channel 4’s The State and ITV’s Cheat, as well as next week’s Hatton Garden).
Like all the best novels, “a shot rang out…” but who fired it, and why? Either way, the end result is that the shotgun bullets went into the stomach of Rhys (Tom Rhys Harries, above) and he’s not best pleased about it.
Don’t panic because that’s not a spoiler, it’s the premise, as the drama then goes back to 15 days earlier as we see how things lead up to this event, beginning with four brothers and sisters coming back to the family home to scatter their mother’s ashes and read her will.
The first episode is very much a scene-setter. Those first to the house are waiting for other family members to arrive. One asks who the little boy is in one photograph, but it turns out it’s someone who’s no longer with them…. cue an awkward silence moment. Meanwhile, the house has a load of much running through the pipes as it hasn’t been used in years, and there’s a spooky moment such as when one family members is trying to get into one of the rooms, and a young girl comes out of nowhere to tell her, “We don’t go in there… It’s Owen’s room”.
One problem with family-centred dramas is that certain elements can stray into soap opera-style territory, especially if one spots someone else doing something they probably shouldn’t be doing, and tries to point the finger.
I won’t give spoilers, since even when an episode’s been broadcast, you can still catch up online if you missed it. However, even if I had a mind to give spoilers, I couldn’t really because what this feels is like a jigsaw puzzle which is slowly coming together piece by piece, over the four episodes, and once it’s done, you’ll have the full picture. Until then, it throws you a tidbit here and there, including flashbacks for Tom, which hint about why someone might want to do him in.
One thing I do have to say is that as the episode drew to a close and more revelations came out, Channel 5 completely killed the mood and broke my concentration by sticking to their guns with their annoying ‘Next on Channel 5’ logos, which told us that Police Code Zero: Officer Under Attack was on next. I couldn’t give two hoots about that, Channel 5, I’m watching THIS programme, and it’s not even as if this drama is remotely similar to that fly-on-the-wall show. These type of logos are called IPPs, i.e. In-Programme Pointers. I refer to them as something rather less user-friendly…
Anyway, back to this and, yes, this was a slow start, but I will be back for part 2 to see how things pan out.
UPDATE: Episode 2: There’s money missing, blackmail, and some decent acting by some, but forgettable by others – those people reminding me more of the old Channel 5 soap Families, since it’s generally that captivating(!)
Trouble is, now I’m two episodes in, I may as well stick it out for the remaining two episodes. On the plus side, the IPP which blighted the end of episode 1 was thankfully absent. Hopefully, C5 have confined it to the dustbin.
UPDATE: Episode 3: A slight bit more drip-feeding of plot… but most of it is endless conversations with characters that are as exciting as a rainy Saturday. If Episode 4 doesn’t pull it out the bag and give us something to get our teeth stuck into, I’ll be going for the shotgun myself! Anything to put myself out of this misery!
Oh, and the ‘In-Programme Pisser-Offs’ were back. Oh dear, Channel 5…
UPDATE: Episode 4: Well, we found out who did for Rhys, but it was a completely messy episode, and regardless of who did the deed, the writers have taken four hours of my life which I won’t get back!
Oh, and just at the moment when IT HAPPENED (and with a completely implausible outcome), so did the return of that fucking IPP, completely killing the tension.
15 Days continues tomorrow night on Channel 5 at 9pm, and each night until Thursday when it concludes. It isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. If you missed it, you can watch the each episode on the My5 for 30 days after transmission.
Episode 1 Score: 5/10
Episode 2 Score: 3/10
Episode 3 Score: 1/10
Episode 4 Score: 1/10
Director: Andy Newbery
Producer: Sophie Francis
Writers: Emma Goodwin, Siwan Jones
Sara: Catherine Tyldesley
Gareth: Geraint Morgan
Michael: David Caves
Rhys: Tom Rhys Harries
Tom: Freddy Carter
Joy: Kezrena James
Lissie: Sharon Morgan
Katie: Gabrielle Creevy
Huw: Ifan Huw Dafydd
Nia: Mali Tudno Jones
Moira: Frances Grey
Richard: Aneirin Hughes
Mair: Sue Roderick
Josh: Bruce Herbelin-Earle
Mabli: Ela Carlisle
Melanie: Claire Cage
Annmarie: Karen Paullada
Dev: Pal Aron
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.