Workaholic Holly Evans (Charlotte Riley) works for the Herald, while Duncan Allen (Ben Chaplin) edits The Post, a more tabloid paper, and given their logo, it’s clearly aping The Sun and The Mirror combined, both of which are really only fit for lining the cat litter tray. Meanwhile, the Herald is a little more upmarket, but conversely, it has a dwindling readership and they’re down to just three real journalists on the team, making it difficult to compete.
However, the Herald’s trying to dumb-down a bit by serialising the new book from Z-list celebrity Wendy Bolt, allegedly, a provactive 21st Century icon. Plus, the have a tip-off which leads to interviewing someone from MI5 who wants to be interviewed… but who doesn’t want to give any info.
There was a mish-mash of different stories being covered, to the point where you’re trying to get engaged in one before they quickly move on to another, and so it doesn’t feel as coherent as it should, while the performances carry it through as a so-so hour’s entertainment. One of these stories involves the first episode’s title, Death Knock, which means door-stepping bereaved families for a scoop on their lost relatives.
When Holly and Duncan do eventually meet in the episode, we’re given the impression that there’s sexual tension between the pair, but I do hope it’s not going down that simplistic route. Then again, it comes from Mike Bartlett, writer of the awful Doctor Foster, so I don’t hold out too much hope… but, I’ll give episode 2 a try.
This first episode of Press does set a couple of wheels in motion, so you can see the beginnings of story arcs, but I wasn’t exactly wholly gripped by what’s onscreen.
Watching episode 2, it was more of the same – some entertainment value, but again, way too many different stories being dealt with to the point where you couldn’t care about them all. I like that, while dressed as a polar bear at a party, Ed met a woman who presents children’s TV. I wonder if she worked on Jolly Farm? Either way, Duncan has a bit on the side who must earn a fortune because she has the poshest London flat ever!
Press continues next Thursday on BBC1 at 9pm. The series is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead if its released on October 22nd, and you can watch each episode on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.
Episodes 1 and 2 Score: 5/10
Director: Tom Vaughan
Producer: Paul Gibert
Writer: Mike Bartlett
Music: Natalie Holt
Holly Evans: Charlotte Riley
Duncan Allen: Ben Chaplin
Amina Chaudury: Priyanga Burford
Peter Langly: Brendan Cowell
Ed Washburn: Paapa Essiedu
Leona: Ellie Kendrick
Sarah Allen: Natasha Little
Chris Cartwright: David Schofield
James Edwards: Al Weaver
Wendy Bolt: Susannah Wise
Raz Kane: Shane Zaza
George Emmerson: David Suchet
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.