We’ve all lived in nightmare neighbourhoods: Mark from number 99 has taken up two parking spots; Suzie with the red door hasn’t brought her bin in for weeks; Roy next door has just got a new dog and it will-not-shut-up. You think you’ve got it tough? Wait until you see Hollington Drive. They have issues that not even Derek from the council could fix.
Hollington Drive is about as close as us Brits will get to the white picket fence of American Beauty and lurking behind the perfectly trimmed front lawns and grand open planned kitchens is a dark, dark secret – even more serious than the look on leading actress Anna Maxwell Martin’s face. A child has gone missing and a Cluedo-esque whodunnit entails, but it’s not as drab and predictable as it sounds.
The Telegraph’s Anita Singh agrees, describing the show as “the kind of domestic thriller that ITV churns out by the dozen, but casting Maxwell Martin is a smart move because she’s such a good actress that she elevates the material”. To Singh, it’s Maxwell Martin’s presence that makes you “sit and think: this’ll be worth watching.” Suzi Feay, writer for The Financial Times feels the same, noting “Maxwell Martin excels at projecting unease with the merest flicker of expression”, playing “the mother who may be going mad or who may, conversely, be the only one to spot the truth”. Good writing or good casting? I hear you ask. Regardless, the result is jolly good TV – the perfect thriller to help us through the pain of having to put the heating on as autumn creeps its way ever closer.
However, if you are of a particularly sunny disposition then this isn’t the show for you, in The Times’s Carol Midgley’s opinion. She has “no appetite for a story about a missing, possibly abused child who went to school hungry with bruises and will doubtless turn up dead”, and without Maxwell Martin’s “Kitemark quality it would be too miserable to contemplate”. An understandable opinion after the year that we’ve had.
Watch if you dare, and for goodness sake – don’t let the kids play in the woods.
First shown September 2021.