Photograph: BBC
Rating 7.6
Streamer BBC iPlayer
Seasons 1
Episodes 1 x 90 mins

For those who have only just recovered from the torturous cabin fever of lockdown, only recently forgiving your partner/housemates/kids for that one day where them leaving a mug on the side rather than putting it in the dishwasher drove you to the absolute brink, triggering a 150 decibel screaming match…maybe don’t watch this. It’s going to take you right back there.

The Covid-19 quarantine creations are coming thick and fast at the moment, with this 90-minute BBC film following Bo Burnham’s hilarious – and tragic – Inside. But will this have as much success as that millennial skewing special?

Well, maybe not with the under thirties, at least, as it’s not for people whose attention span is more catered to the 60 second TikTok video. This intense, claustrophobic film starring Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy, who play a married couple shut inside together thanks to the government sanctioned lockdown. Those who found themselves in a similar situation will likely predict what’s coming, unless you happen to be one of those rare couples who actually got along the whole time and discovered a mutual love of gardening and sourdough starters… Not these two. They’re sick of the sight, sound and thought of each other. And we get to watch it for a whole hour and a half!

And it does feel a bit voyeuristic, like sitting at the kitchen table in silence so you can listen to your neighbours argue over who’s doing the food shop this week, smugly sipping a cup of tea and thinking “thank God I don’t have to have these kinds of arguments.” This show will likely give you that same satisfaction. Filmed inside one home over just ten days, this film is a study in wilting relationships under the pressure cooker environment provided by the pandemic, things growing increasingly tricky when Horgan’s mother is hospitalised with the virus – cue rants about governmental ineptness which will sting all of those who lost someone this year.

Horgan delivers this perfectly, and McAvoy’s acting is just as fine. However, this won’t be for everyone – with the prolonged speeches and the setting the same throughout, it feels more like a play than a film for TV, sometimes feeling a bit too staged to be believable. But if you are able to suspend your disbelief, then this is a great piece of drama reflecting on a period of time which we’ll all be pleased to move on from.

The critics are full of praise for this film, with The Times’s Carol Midgley saying “Together was spiky, polemical, deliciously written and terrifically acted,” her only bugbear being that “At 90 minutes the drama felt too long.” Lucy Mangan of The Guardian calls it “an absolute wonder… It is also a miracle of compression. It captures perfectly the emotional dilapidations of a dying relationship.” But The Telegraph’s Anita Singh had mixed feelings, saying “I admired Together but didn’t love it. In fact, for the first 20 minutes, I hated it.” However, she still gave the film four stars, adding “As the thing wore on, it seemed more and more that Kelly had set out to deliver a polemic under the cover of a relationship drama.”

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

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