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Orphan Black

Orphan Black

Fri Sep 20, 9-10.30pm, BBC3

By Gabriel Tate
Series one, episodes one and two
Big-budget misfire ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’ amply demonstrated the pitfalls of British TV drama going high concept in America. But BBC America’s ‘Orphan Black’ negotiates at least some of these, thanks to a largely unknown cast and a keener sense of its own ridiculousness.

When Sarah (Tatiana Maslany), a con artist on the run, spots a strangely familiar-looking woman hurling herself in front of a train, she wastes no time in assuming her identity, oblivious to the baggage of dangerous career and tangled love life that comes with it. Only Sarah’s gay BFF Felix (Jordan Gavaris) is in on the scam, and he’s not exactly reliable. And what’s the deal with the doppelgangers that start cropping up?

It’s utter hokum, with some of the performances as shaky as the accents – but the premise, as it becomes clearer over this opening double bill, is enticing and the trick photography is very decent.

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