Sunday, 6 February 2011


On TV: Thursday 3rd February 2011
Channel: ITV1 9pm
Episode Type: Episode 1 (5-part series)

In 1 Sentence: An absolute gem: anyone interested in a good spooky mystery, great acting and an addictive plot will be gripped. 
ITV Summary: Marchlands is the gripping story of three different families living in the same house in the 1960’s, 1980’s and present day. The families are linked by the spirit of a young girl – the 1960’s family’s daughter who died in mysterious circumstances.  It’s a brand new five-part drama from ITV Studios written for ITV by Stephen Greenhorn (Glasgow Kiss, Doctor Who).

“Scott: So how come we can’t see her?
Amy: Maybe she doesn’t want you to.
Scott: So she’s real, you can see her, but we can’t?!
Eddie: Leave her alone.
Scott: No, come on Amy, how does that work? How come
Alice defies all the known laws of physics?
Amy: Because... she’s dead.”
Scott teases his sister about her new imaginary friend on the way to school.

My review: At last there’s a good quality ghost story on television again! Marchlands was a spine-tingling watch and drew me in straight from the first few seconds with the shot of the little girl running eerily through the woods.
This first episode focuses on setting up the 3 different decades; gliding between them effortlessly, using clever devices, such as the radio to distinguish them. 

The acting was incredible, and I would expect no less, from the wealth of actors ITV have managed to get their hands on.
From the 1960’s, are Jamie Thomas King (Mad Men, The Tudors) and Jodie Whittaker (St Trinian’s) who play husband and wife, but their relationship has gone on a downward spiral since the death of their daughter Alice. There remains a mystery as to how she died, so things will surely pick up as the revelations unfold. Also in the 1960’s era, are Denis Lawson and Tessa Peake-Jones who play Whittaker’s parents. 

Fresh from Ashes to Ashes, Dean Andrews is once again stuck in the 80’s, as he and Alex Kingston (ER, Doctor Who) play husband and wife. Their daughter, Amy, seems to make friends with ghost Alice, but things soon take a more sinister tone as Alice plays tricks on Kingston when she tries to get Amy to stop talking to her ‘imaginary friend’. 
Here's the magic of a good ghost story - they defy the usual rules, so there’s no knowing where the scene may go next.

And then to the present day is the lovely Shelley Conn who plays Jess in the fantastic Mistresses, which has now sadly ended. It’s great to see Conn doing something new and with a great accent! She’s plays pregnant Nisha and the father-to-be is played by Elliot Cowan (The Fixer, Lost In Austen) who raises her suspicions during the episode.
I should also mention Anne Reid, who despite not being in the first episode is set to appear in the present day soon, so it should be interesting finding out about her character over the next few weeks. 

The worst thing about a drama like Marchlands is that it’s only on for a few precious weeks, and will soon be over. But then again, I wouldn’t want it to be like America and dragged out for months either. I shall enjoy it while I can!

Score: 9/10

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