The Bay in this new drama is Morecambe Bay, the setting for a new police drama where Holly and Dylan Meredith – two 15-year-old twins who – didn’t come home from a trip to a youth club, and have gone missing.
Assigned to the task is DS Lisa Armstrong (Morven Christie), and while I’m obviously not going to give any spoilers, I can comment on what’s already been broadcast in the trailer for this. So if you haven’t seen this, and don’t want to know anything, then just skip to the Episode 1 score further down.
This job comes the morning after Lisa’s had a heavy night at a karaoke bar, met a bit of rough, had a bit of “how’s yer father” and then had to concentrate on what pays the bills as she goes to meet the mother of the children, Jess (Lucy Hillyard), but…
By the end of part one, this jumped the shark for me, as when Jess’ other half, Sean (Jonas Armstrong), comes home, he’s the man with whom Lisa had that dalliance. This was also the case with last week’s Cheat, and once that started, it kept jumping higher and higher.
While all this is going on, Lisa has a complicated home life – like all TV cops. For this one, her daughter’s about to kick things off at school for rather uninteresting reasons.
This could have been a decent, dark drama, but those first 15 minutes… Oh dear. And that continues into the most obvious of old tropes – and, again, it’s in the trailer – an element of the police falsifying evidence.
However, I will concede that as the first episode ended, it did leave me with enough to watch the second episode and see how that pans out.
About the most interesting thing is that one of Sean’s colleagues, Ryan (Philip Hill-Pearson), is the guy from the oddest coffee advert ever, for Nescafe Gold. It’s called “Those Few People” and has a premise that he’s invited every single person he’s ever known to be there with him in one huge Roman-style arena. Yes, he’s lost touch with the majority of them, yet still managed to get BACK in touch with them in order to arrange this huge self-congratulatory meet. And it starts by him asking a group of people to sit down if they can’t remember his name… but they would have had to be TOLD his name in order to attend this meeting.
And once he has picked out a few to sit with him for a coffee, all the rest – who have zero interest in staying in contact with him – now have to sit there for the rest of the evening, twiddling their thumbs while he chats to that select few.
As it goes on, it has a twee, puke-inducing cover version of Ben E King’s Stand By Me. Yes, another twee cover version on TV. Never enough of those(!)
If ever there was a worse premise for an advert, I haven’t seen it.
UPDATE Episode 2: was an improvement but still unremarkable. It made for a passable hour’s entertainment, but I need reasons to stick with such a drama long-term. That said, there are separate storylines regarding Abbie and Rob which have promise. Based on what I’ve seen so far, there’s nothing that connects those to the disappearance of the twins, but it’s reasonable to expect that the storyline is expanding beyond its initial remit.
UPDATE Episode 3: Well, this one brought things to the mid-point in a completely uninspiring way and, despite thinking this had a chance of improving after episode 2… it hasn’t.
The end had a twist about who the potential murderer is, but I’ll mention that in a spoiler heading…
UPDATE Episode 4: If this gets any slower, it’ll start going backwards. There’s a slightly interesting plot point about the son being blackmailed after doing stupid challenges, such as nicking stuff from the corner shop, but Maisie Williams’ Cyberbully showed that if you’re being blackmailed into doing things you don’t want to do… close the laptop… and it’s over.
However, due to it being so slow, by the time anything happens, I’ve forgotten which character is which. They could’ve summed this up into 3 episodes.
UPDATE: Episode 5 trundled on… and I thought that, yet again, this series could’ve been done in 3 episodes, especially when Med found out…
UPDATE: Episode 6: Again, this would’ve been best served by cutting it down to 3 or 4 episodes. There was a scene between Lisa and…
The Bay begins tomorrow night on ITV at 9pm and continues each Wednesday afterwards. After each episode is broadcast, they’ll be on the ITV Hub.
The series is available to pre-order on DVD.
Episode 1: 3/10
Episode 2: 5/10
Episode 3: 2/10
Episode 4: 2/10
Episode 5: 2/10
Episode 6: 4/10
Series Directors: Lee Haven Jones, Robert Quinn
Producers: Philip Leach, Margaret Conway
Writer: Daragh Carville
DS Lisa Armstrong: Morven Christie
Sean Meredith: Jonas Armstrong
Jess Meredith: Lucy Hillyard
Jake Meredith: Liam McCheyne
Holly Meredith: Darci Shaw
Dylan Meredith: Noah Valentine
DC Ahmed ‘Med’ Kharim: Taheen Modak
DS Alexander Stewart: Simon Manyonda
Penny Armstrong: Lindsey Coulson
Abbie Armstrong: Imogen King
Rob Armstrong: Art Parkinson
Bernie Chambers: Martina Laird
Sgt. Karen Hobson: Erin Shanagher
Ryan Foley: Philip Hill-Pearson
Margaret Foley: Tracie Bennett
Krzysztof Babakowski: Jordan Mifsud
Sam Hesketh: Louis Greatorex
PC Lewis: Simran Kaur
Nicholas Mooney: Matthew McNulty
Vincent: Adam Long
DC Watson: Tina Louise Owens
DI Tony Manning: Daniel Ryan
DC W. Phillips: Ian Austin
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.