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In many ways, four-part drama ‘Southcliffe’ is the archetypal C4 series: grim, controversial, current and sometimes downright strange. The story is, on the surface at least, simple enough: lone gunman goes on the rampage in isolated Kentish market town. The reality is, inevitably, rather more complex. Tony ‘Red Riding’s’ Grisoni’s unsettling, elusive story – complemented perfectly by Sean Durkin’s murky, menacing direction – winds back to tell us a little about the killer, his quarries and the oppressively closeknit yet isolating quality of many small communities.
The focal points tonight are Joe Dempsie and Sean Harris (both magnificent), the returning and retired soldiers drawn together by their shared military background and each troubled by secrets and self-doubt. Future episodes will doubtless capitalise on a fine cast, including, Rory Kinnear’s cynical hack, Shirley Henderson’s overworked administrator and Anatol Yusef’s cocksure publican. In the meantime, though, savour this bleak, intense and utterly absorbing hour of television.