Monday, 18 February 2019


Last night I caught the first part of a new Channel 4 drama called Traitors. At first I wasn't exactly watching, but gradually it drew me in and I got interested. It's set in 1945, in the aftermath of Labour's great postwar victory, and the drama revolves around a US intelligence effort to recruit a British civil servant to spy on the new government from the inside and report back on its presumed Communist sympathies. I don't know whether this really happened, but it doesn't seem particularly implausible – though the murderous ruthlessness of the American recruiting agent certainly does.
  A relative newcomer called Emma Appleton plays the recruit, a posh young lady in search of excitement – and she's already turning in a vivid, nuanced performance. We'll be seeing a lot more of her, I think. But what makes Traitors distinctively different – especially from BBC drama productions – is an intelligent script and a pleasingly light touch, with moments of comedy smoothly blended with the serious stuff. What's more, it's not filmed in the dark, and you can hear what the actors are saying – both big pluses as far as I'm concerned. Keeley Hawes, in one of her less glamorous roles, enters the mix next week, and the word is that things really liven up when she and Emma Appleton get going.
  Last night's episode ended with the male lead, now a newly elected Labour MP, delivering a rousing maiden speech in the Commons, full of hope and confidence in the New Jerusalem that Labour was going to deliver. Arch reactionary though I am, even I, I fancy, might have entertained the idea of voting Labour in that election.  How very long ago it seems today, as the sorry remnants of a once great party begin to fall apart...


  1. Thanks for your reference to inaudible actors filmed in the dark! I thought it was just my advancing age.

  2. Well it could be my advancing age of course, but as we oldsters are the only ones watching terrestrial TV these days they really should make allowances. And if Channel 4 can do it, why not the BBC?

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