BBC One’s brilliantly clever Mayday came to an end tonight in an episode that was full of more twists and turns than the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. The five part drama was based around a straightforward topic – the murder of a young woman. The events thereafter were handled in a rather unusual manner. There were four primary suspects but in the absence of a Marple or Poirot figure the audience were left to do the investigative work themselves.
Each of the suspects had an accuser but as the show progressed you began to wonder if the real villains were the accused or their accusers. Mi5 veteran Peter Firth was frighteningly convincing as the town pervert while Sophie Okonedo and Lesley Manville managed to pull on the audience’s heart strings as they faced up to the horror of being married to murder suspects. Sam Spruell was probably the strongest performer although Peter McDonald was also very good in an understated kind of way.
I don’t typically count down the hours until the next episode of a show but Mayday is one of those rare shows that stays at the forefront of your mind long after the final credits roll. The writing team behind it (Ben Court and Caroline Ip) are best known for their work on ITV’s Whitechapel but Mayday is a cut above that well loved mystery drama. It’s only March but I don’t think we’ll see a better written, more complex and craftily directed drama throughout the rest of the year.