A glitzy seaside home, a stumble down the stairs, a fearsome head injury and a year of memory loss. All ingredients for a tasty Sunday night treat of a thriller, with added dollops of Christopher Ecclestone and Connie Nielsen in the lead roles.
Whilst Close to Me has all the ingredients for a hit show, the resulting concoction has left reviewers divided, which is a shame, because we had high hopes for this six-part series, based on Amanda Reynolds’ 2017 book. When Jo Harding (Nielsen) comes round from her blackout with some serious head injuries, nothing is quite the same: her husband is looking rather more svelte, the dog’s gone AWOL, she wonders if she was having an affair, or if she has changed for the worse.
Writing in The Guardian Lucy Mangan loves Close to Me. “It is rather delicious. Little mysteries, clues, inconsistencies, multiple possible interpretations of people’s actions, glances and reactions abound, adding up to larger and larger questions and creeping suspicions.” And she’s looking forward to seeing how the show plays out, saying, “I’m adding it to my binge-watch list for sure.” In The Times Carol Midgley is less sure of the series, but she does see an upside to the central premise of Jo losing her memory for a year, “you’d wipe out most of the Covid pandemic and that barf-inducing photo of Matt Hancock with his hands on his mistress’s backside so it wouldn’t be all bad.” Despite the good premise, she feels it’s not well executed: “The cast was good, but the delivery strangely stilted and unnatural as if they were all in a hostage situation. No one knows people like this. I do realise this may be intentional.”
We have to agree with Rachel Sigee, writing in inews, that Close to Me is “pulpy”. Although here at Must, we think a bit of pulp fiction can be a good thing, Sigee is less sure. “The disorienting trauma of the situation was constantly evident on Neilson’s stricken face, but Close to Me wasn’t especially interested in the nuances of what it might feel like to lose a year of memories. Instead, it chucked absolutely everything at the story.”
So, a bit like Jo, you might need to forget that not everything is credible, but we think this show is pretty bingeable. First shown November 2021.