Is new Shane Meadows drama The Virtues with Stephen Graham any good?
- Credit: Dean Rogers
Nick Richards checked out the new Shane Meadows series on Channel 4 last night
Fresh from the mean streets occupied by AC-12 in Line of Duty, Stephen Graham was back on the box on Wednesday night in new ITV drama The Virtues.
Teaming up once again with Shane Meadows we saw Stephen as Joseph, a likeable Scouser with what seems like a very troubled past, present and future.
After being dropped off from work our Joseph spends his day moping around in his tower block flat looking at kids in the playground out of his window and lots of staring in the mirror (we get it Shane - he's reflecting, right?).
He then embarks on the mother of all walks, soundtracked by PJ Harvey, to arrive for dinner at a house on a newly built estate.
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Inside we soon discover is his son, his ex and her new partner and this is no ordinary dinner, it's a last supper.
They're off to Australia to start a new life and this could be the last time he sees son Shea in the flesh before they take up a new intercontinental relationship over Skype.
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It's all very civil and pleasant as they tuck into curry, salad and plantain all washed down with a glass of lassi.
It's the perfect stomach lining for what would soon become the mother of all pub benders.
Yes, as Joseph's present was about to set off into the future to start a new life, he dragged his alcoholic past back to the present to replace it.
He said goodbye to his son, hugged his ex and then contemplated a cheeky pint on the way home before a wallet-bashing session of pints, shots and spirits mixed with coke, not as in the fizzy drink.
Joseph loved it in the 'cracking little boozer' and so did the locals as the pint-sized alcoholic indulged strangers with drink after drink before coughing up a load of cash to settle his bill and stagger off into the night.
But it didn't end there.
The long moody, brooding shots were forgotten as Joseph seemed to strap on a Go-Pro camera and complete his night on the lash with more drinks and a kebab and, when he woke up surrounded by vomit, Subbuteo and a smashed picture frame, what looked like a fight.
We had some flashbacks to his past, what looks like a long-lost sister and a father and there was a black and white photo of some girls that looked a tad religious.
Soon he was taking out the last £140 of his already overdrawn account and heading to the docks to catch a ferry to Northern Ireland.
I'm not quite sure what to make of the scene at the ferry terminal ticket desk when he is upsold an expensive ticket rather after being told he couldn't travel as a foot passenger - was he known to the staff as a trouble maker who had tried the journey before, perhaps while drunk?
With half a day to kill until his ferry left he spent his last £4 on a cup of tea, which he drank while chatting to his Aussie-bound son on Skype, and a bottle of cheap super strength cider from the offie.
It looked like the start of another all day sesh but good lad Joseph binned the cider after seeing some kids playing in the playground.
Maybe he was going to clean up his act for his son?
We ended with Joesph arriving in Belfast with plenty of unanswered questions - why is he off to Ireland? Who are the girls in the picture who look like they belong to some sort of institution? Why can't he just go to Australia too?
Judging by the title with its crucifix on the letter T, there must be some religious meanderings to come - and something tells me it's going to get a whole lot darker.
Religion, children, flashbacks and an alcoholic is a recipe for much more contemplation in this very watchable series if episode one is anything to go by.