Tonight sees the culmination of Paul Smith’s four part slice of life serial One Night. For those that have yet to see it, each of the four parts explores four characters’ crises on one particular night. Ted, played by Douglas Hodge, let the pressures of 21st century life get to him in part one. Part two saw Rochelle played by Georgina Campbell finding out about the dangers of forbidden love on the estate. Carol, played by the wonderful Jessica Hynes, struggled with the burdens of single parenthood in the third installment. And tonight 12 year old child Alfie, played by the debutant Billy Matthews, comes to terms with the responsibilities of growing up before his time.
The series isn’t perfect. At times it feels laboured, a little fake, and occasionally lightweight, but on the whole it is an enjoyable four-parter with big stars and newbees alike acting their socks off. It certainly didn’t, in my view, warrant the graveyard scheduling that the BBC gave it. Not only does that show a lack of faith in a script that has been discussed, developed, and drafted with love by the dedicated team at BBC Drama in the White City complex, but it also shows disrespect to the director, to the actors, and to the crew who fought slavishly to get the programme to the screen. The schedulers should be ashamed with their decision not to strip this at 9pm. Still, at least it was stripped. It’ll be interesting to take a look at the ratings for One Night over the four nights compared with the average for the 22:35 – 23:35 time slot.
You could do much worse than to watch tonight’s episode. Billy Matthews in his debut performance on screen is masterful. He’s definitely one to watch out for and I predict big things for the boy. My particular favourite bit in tonight’s episode is when he skillfully dispatches the woman from the Social Service. Great performance. In November I interviewed him at his house for the BBC and he told me (off camera) that his next big TV drama is written by another brilliant Billy – Shakespeare’s Henry IV. If you want to see the interview you can find it on the BBC website here.
Please do check out One Night on the BBC I-Player.