The Pact

Photograph: BBC
Rating 7.4
Streamer BBC iPlayer
Seasons 1
Episodes 6 x 60 mins

Big Little Lies has had a Welsh make over, so it’s out with the massive houses and perfectly preened hair, and in with the rain macs and gloomy weather. Luckily the drama has stayed high class, with gorgeous cinematography to boot.  

It’s a situation a few of us may be able to relate to – a group of work-colleagues-cum-gal-pals working in a brewery are pretty fed up with their letch of a boss, Jack (Aneurin Barnard), who has a coke habit and a wandering eye, and whose mummy and daddy have spoon fed him every opportunity he’s ever had. So, what do they do, slag him off in the office kitchen? Send memes about him in their WhatsApp group? Drag him into the woods and photograph him nude, only to then accidentally kill him? Unfortunately, they opted for that last one. Ok, we were lying about relating to the story – but what’s a good thriller without some ridiculous plotlines?

Once you’ve finished this, why not (re)watch Big Little Lies?

These women are now tied together by their mutual misdoing, trapped in a lie they must work together to keep. But the police soon come sniffing, and they need someone to blame. And who better than Jack’s bit-on-the-side, Mandy? The only thing the women need to do now is keep it together, and watch as an innocent woman gets sent down for murder.

The casting is brilliant. We’ve got the Corrie actress, Julie Hesmondhalgh, playing Nancy, joined by Eiry Thomas, of Keeping Faith and Laura Fraser who previously starred in Breaking Bad. Then there’s Eddie Marsan playing Jack’s grieving Dad, and Rakie Ayola who is wholly convincing as the determined lead detective.

For another gripping crime drama with two strong female leads, try out Too Close

Whilst the plot is admittedly a bit out there, this is still a thoroughly entertaining series that gets better and better with each episode, and even if you feel slightly sceptical after episode one, trust us, you’ll soon be as committed to The Pact as these accidentally-murderous women. 

Rebecca Nicholson of The Guardian says “The Pact’s writer/creator, Pete McTighe, was the chief original writer of the Australian prison drama Wentworth, and The Pact shares its taste for high drama and female bonding… It is expert enough in keeping the audience on tenterhooks to warrant a return visit, and despite reservations, I was keen to see what happened next.” The Independent’s Sean O’Grady too appreciates McTighe’s writing, giving the series four stars and praising its “excellent cast.” Though he admits the premise is a bit improbable, saying “I don’t think I’d ever leave a boss of mine for dead in the woods with his trousers around his ankles, listless in the dank night air, just for a laugh.” Well, working at The independent must be better than we thought? Whilst agreeing with O’Grady, The Times’s Hugo Rifkind, “I find myself nonetheless hooked enough that I definitely want to know how it ends. Which has to be good, right?”

First shown May 2021. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.

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