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The Village

The Village

Sun Apr 21, 9-10pm, BBC1

By Phil Harrison
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Series one, episode four
Tonight, the villagers are gathering for their annual wheelbarrow race. Sounds like fun, right? Maybe. But if you’ve come this far with this superb drama, you’ll have realised that nothing comes unconditionally. Strings are always attached. This year’s wheelbarrow race coincides with the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Elsewhere, crises of faith are everywhere. The village priest is struggling to control his flock. The villagers are doubting the veracity of the news from the Front. And up in the big house, poor Caro is being gruesomely ‘treated’ by a sadistic doctor.

All this angst is continuing to make ‘The Village’ one of the more uneasy primetime Sunday evening epics in recent memory – and thank goodness for that. The performances are uniformly superb – Maxine Peake’s Grace is a perfectly poised combination of hope, compassion and intense foreboding while John (John Simm) remains a cauldron of confused, repressed, potentially volcanic anger. Hopefully, this will run and run.
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