Rules of the Game is a new four-part drama set at Fly, a sportswear company, and run by Sam Thompson (Maxine Peake – Anne), who we first see sat in the back of an ambulance, before we learn there’s been a murder in her company, and that the victim fell from the second floor in the building, but who is it and what exactly are the circumstances? (Don’t worry, I’m not saying here)
Rather shaken up, she’s interviewed by the police, and then we see how her day panned out which led to this, taking in new recruit Maya Benshaw (Rakhee Thakrar), who’s joined the company as their new HR Director. It’s a place with low staff turnrover, and Sam’s worked there all her life, even though Maya thinks that regular turnover is a good thing in order to keep the ideas fresh.
However, as soon as she’s begun, Maya is having to deal with a major issue on her first day, as something has come to light with two of the employers doing the horizontal mambo in the office late at night. Of the two involved, one – the more senior of the couple – is downbeat because they’re marking ten years since their friend, Amy, died 10 years ago. Plus, this individual, who I won’t name prior to broadcast, is rather cocky and thinks they’re untouchable at the company as they “know too much“.
Along the way, the opening episode briefly takes in mental health issues, but falls into the clichés of people acting shifty while seemingly thinking that can go unnoticed, and it seems to be an office where everyone’s in each other’s pants. Hence, as a drama, it may as well be renamed “Posh People’s Problems”.
There’s some other stuff happening that I won’t go into so as to avoid spoilers, but the ‘rules of the game’ are going to have to up their own game in order to retain me as a viewer when I watch episode two.
UPDATE Episode 2:
Rules of the Game begins Tuesday January 11th on BBC1 at 9pm, and runs for three consecutive nights at the same time. It’s available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of the release date of February 28th.
After episode one has been broadcast, I understand the whole series will be on the BBC iPlayer.
Episode 1: 5/10
Director: Jennifer Sheridan
Producer: Simon Meyers
Writer: Ruth Fowler
Music: Edmund Butt
Sam Thompson: Maxine Peake
Maya Benshaw: Rakhee Thakrar
DI Eve Preston: Susan Wokoma
Anita Jenkins: Alison Steadman
Vanessa Jenkins: Zoë Tapper
Gareth Jenkins: Kieran Bew
Owen Jenkins: Ben Batt
Tess Jones: Callie Cooke
DS Peter Alan: Dario Coates
Carys Jenkins: Katherine Pearce
Luke Benshaw: Tom Forbes
Amy Dixon: Amy Leeson
Adam Thompson: Isaac Lancel-Watkinson
Gemma Thompson: Megan Parkinson
Duncan Stephenson: Dominic Vulliamy
Office worker: Gemma Lawman
Beautician: Sadie Pickering
Nan: Denice Hope
Khalil Ibraham: Mohammed Mansaray
Rachel Dixon: Jennifer Hennessy
Dave Dixon: Rick Warden
Delivery Man: Adam Corbally
Liz White: Kate Lamb
Hugh Evans: Rory Keenan
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.