The BBC has had a stormer in the last few years producing what they like to label ‘original British drama,’ gripping television which leaves viewers on the edge of their seats.
We’ve had Happy Valley, The Fall, Luther and Sherlock just to name a few which have gone on to take audiences by storm and have or are to broadcast more than one series.
Next up is The Driver, starring David Morrissey who has had recent success on the Beeb with the 7:39 and The Field of Blood, the Liverpudlian produces this three-part drama written by Danny Brocklehurst.
Morrissey takes up the role of Mancunian Vince McKee, a forty-something cabby who has lost his way: his son has joined a cult which has turned his marriage into a turbulent relationship and he’s making a tuppence driving around arsey and abusive customers.
All in all: he’s not very happy with his life.
Cue a chance to change things, as his best friend Col (Ian Hart) is released from prison and offers Vince a way to make a quick but substantial large buck driving for his gangster buddies who rule an area of Manchester.
Not the drive he hoped for
Naively, Vince thinks he’s simply going to be ferrying the boss named ‘The Horse’ (Colm Meaney) and his cronies about but within the first hour or so, the audience know different and are just waiting for Vince to catch up.
It doesn’t take long for Vince to start wrestling with his conscience over the things he’s seen, namely a young man thrown down a hole. As he starts to lose the battle, he tries to fix it and it all starts to unravel with devastating consequences.
At the same time Vince is trying to hold his marriage together – his wife, Ros (Claudie Blakley) blaming him for not rescuing his son (Lewis Rainer) from a cult housed somewhere in the Pennines. These scenes, are undoubtedly the best in the three hours and overshadow the gritty underworld that Vince has got himself tied up in.
Morrissey gives an emotional performance in one gut-wrenching take as he storms the cult’s residence and tries to persuade his son to come, only to break down in a flood of tears.
It’s simply Morrissey at his best.
The 50-year-old does the down on his luck, ‘I’m just the driver’ role just as-well too but it just doesn’t have the same effect as the scenes with his family.
Finale just falls short
But once again, the BBC just fall short as they have done many times with the finales of what in truth have been fantastic pieces of drama.
Just like Good Cop or The Fall – the ending seems hurried and unfulfilling compared to the other episodes and while The Fall will have the chance to earn a reprieve (it returns next month), The Driver, ends in a predictable way yet one which you were still rooting for nonetheless.
It’s on the BBC iPlayer for the next few weeks – so why don’t you take a watch and let us know your thoughts?