The Circuit – The DVDfever Review – Channel 4 Pilot

The Circuit The Circuit was a title that baffled me. Is that what dinner parties are referred to? Perhaps it’s when someone invites you to one, and so you have to reciprocate.

New to the area, Nat (Eva Birthistle) and Gabe (Adeel Akhtar) have been invited to one, but the latter, particularly, doesn’t want to go to attend this do, hosted by posh duo Hungarian Helena (Victoria Hamilton) and grumpy Sasha (Tobias Menzies), with other guests including one-time Bananarama member Marty (Nicola Walker from The Last Train), and suicidal Danny (Paul Ready), who Helena tells them once “tried to kill himself, but only a little bit”.

There’s a number of awkward moments, including Gabe trying to explain the process involved in his gift of a bag of expensive civet coffee, to which Sasha concludes are “weasel shit beans”. Later, they have an exchange which includes:

    Sasha: “You’re a Nazi!”
    Gabe: “I’m not a Nazi, I’ve got Tony Benn’s autobiography!”
    Sasha: “Yeah, but you haven’t read it, have you?”

And if Nat and Gabe loved where they were living and working before, why did they move?

Written by Dennis Kelly (Utopia) and Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Pulling), and with various cast members having appeared in or shared screen time in productions such as Utopia, Cuffs, The Night Manager, The Game and the movies The Children and Brooklyn, my favourite scene out of all of these being between Akhtar and Ready in the first episode of Utopia, involving a number of painful torture elements, culiminating with a spoon. While the second series faltered and ended on a daft cliffhanger which won’t be resolved as it was since cancelled (Why do that when there’s clearly a third series in it to bring things to a conclusion?), they still had a fantastic, perfect first series.

Oddly, unless there was an issue with the preview screener, the drama has been filmed at a ratio of slightly more than 16:9, then given a slight anamorphic squeeze to retain the 16:9 ratio. The trailer (below) looks to have a widescreen ratio of approx 2.00:1, so I presume it’s the screener that’s been altered.

Overall, The Circuit – in which many of them have their secrets – is not brilliant, but it comes together very well.

Will there be more? Well, do this lot want to get together again, do you think? Or, they could have an entirely different cast, or a combination.

The Circuit is broadcast tonight on Channel 4 at 10pm, and isn’t yet available to pre-order Blu-ray or DVD, but can be seen on All 4 after broadcast. Also, click on the top image for the full-size version.

The Circuit – Channel 4 – Trailer

Score: 7/10

Director: Benedict Taylor
Writers: Dennis Kelly and Sharon Horgan

Gabe: Adeel Akhtar
Nat: Eva Birthistle
Helena: Victoria Hamilton
Sasha: Tobias Menzies
Marty: Nicola Walker
Danny: Paul Ready