- WEEKLY TV PICKS
Friday, 7 September 2012
Sky Atlantic's HUNDERBY review
Julia Davis is a justly celebrated writer/performer of black comedy, most famously BBC Three's Nighty Night, and now she's transferred her her skills to a period drama for Sky Atlantic's lavish Hunderby—a sly, deliciously dark riff on Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca. The 19th-century story concerns Helene (Alexandra Roach), a shipwreck survivor who washes ashore near the hamlet of Hunderby on the English coast. Two aspiring heroes come to her aide—a mute black slave called Geoff (Daniel Lawrence Taylor) and the handsome Dr Foggerty (Rufus Jones)—but the man who takes credit as Helene's saviour is god-fearing Edmund (Alex MacQueen), a widowed pastor with puritanical beliefs.
Davis gives herself the best role as the Machiavellian housekeeper, floating around Edmund's house with a fixed expression of scorn and well-practised smiles that never part the lips. But that's not to say everyone else trails in her wake. MacQueen is excellent as a similarly abhorrent monster, Jones is very amusing as the remarkably composed and ridiculously honourable physician, and Roach turns a potentially one-note "victim" role into something altogether more nuances and likable. The show even finds time to give the likes of Pulling's Rebekah Stanton a decent background role as a randy cook.
You're either on its wavelength, or you're not, and I'm definitely in the former camp.
written by Julia Davis / directed by Tony Dow / 27 August & September 2012 / Sky Atlantic