One Night – Episode Four Review

Words by Naomi Jeffreys

‘Is this the life you could have hoped for?’ In the opening and closing scenes of this brilliantly executed mini drama series, the characters and the audience are asked a question. It is astounding, that one event can change ones life so drastically and so quickly. And this one event, screened over four nights, and told through four different character’s eyes signifies the frailty of life.

In this, the fourth and final episode of the mini series. We’re seeing the day through Alfie’s eyes. On his 13th Birthday, he wanted to have the best day of his life, to really live on his birthday, to muck around with mates, bunk school and to not have a care in the world. But, modern day society doesn’t always work like that, and peer pressure, the protection which gangs can offer you and the lack of parental guidance pushes this episodes protagonist to the edge.

Billy Matthews is astoundingly good for such a young actor. We are able to see a boy on the edge, aching to be a child yet forced to be an adult. With the lack of parents, (or a parent who cares), he is forced to look after his three younger siblings. The character simply can’t do everything, with lack of funds he resorts to stealing (calpol for his youngest sister). Alfie is the kind of character who the audience feels sorry for, we empathise with him and in a way, we can understand why he would want to be part of a gang. They offer him protection, for himself and for his family. It’s drastic and so very very heartbreaking to watch a young boy in such a horrible predicament.

Anyway, the episode was compelling, heartbreaking, brilliantly executed (the cinematography on this show should be comended) I raked my brains to try to think of how they pulled this off! The actors were excellent and the themes so very very real.

Now, Smith just couldn’t leave us hanging. After Alife’s confession, the title song was played, and a montage of all four characters (and their loved ones) were displayed to the audience. Rochelle’s boyfriend was ok, he lived. Carol began pursuing her comedy career and Ned’s wife was left alone.

I shed a tear at the end of this programme. Why? Well, perhaps because the themes were so hard hitting in this one, the themes of violence were intensified and you felt the weight of the world on this thirteen year old boys shoulders.

If you missed the series. I recommened you BBC iPlayer it. Brilliant, just so brilliant.

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One Night – Episode Three Review

Words by Naomi Jeffreys

Unsure. Heartbroken. Puzzled. Shocked.

In this, the third episode of Paul Smith’s One Night Drama, we are seeing the day through Carol Gooding’s eyes (played excellently by Jessica Hynes). There is a certain sense that her character is ‘on the edge’, she is emotionally drained, confused, frustrated and yet fiercely loving to her children.

I must admit, as a Spaced fan, I was excited to see Jessica Hynes get her teeth in to a really gritty role. Since her days on the set of Spaced, Hynes has had bit parts in films such as Son of Rambow and Burke and Hare. The role of Carol allowed the audience to see the ‘parental’ side of the day, monotony, annoying customers, secret ambitions; things which us kids never get to see.

Hynes gave her best given the shaky script. Unlike the previous two episodes, Smith has relied heavily upon voiceover, which is a tricky technique even at the best of times. And the flashbacks of Carol longing for her husband, and seeing the life she had, I expect allowed us to feel deeper sympathy for the character, but perhaps, were not executed as well as could have been.

Despite that flaw, this episode was a corker. I still gasped and had sneaky sense of glee whenever scenes we’d already seen interlocked and wove together. Such as Ned asking Carol where the charcoal was, and us discovering tonight how stressed, depressed and on the edge her character was.

This is the kind of television programme which gets you thinking.  I was trying to think of other films or television programmes to compare One Night too. And the best I could come up with was Joe Wright’s Atonement. Which, as successful and brilliant as it was, somehow seems clunky and old fashioned compared to his mastery.

In the final installment of this four part mini series, we are following Alfie’s story. Paul Smith has wheted our appetites in these last few episodes. And I am eager to find out what happens.

Tune.In.

One Night is on BBC One, Friday night from 10:35 – 11:35

One Night – Episode Two Review

Words by Naomi Jeffreys

Here we are again. Night two. This time we’re following Rochelle’s story. And boy does it deliver.

In this, the second episode, we follow Rochelle, a straight A student whose one event of her friend dropping her packet of crisps ends up in her being suspended. You’d think this would be all, but no no no, the writer, Paul Smith, has woven in love, London gangs, the prospect of a bright future lost, all in one hour.

I felt a sense of glee whenever scenes were interwoven, such as the guests arriving at Ned’s House in the red people carrier. Last episode, we didn’t know the significance of this event in the overall shocking ending. Or, when we first meet Rochelle, when she drops her packet of crisps and Ned is ‘abused’, little do we know that her friend knocked the packet of crisps from her hand. It is utter brilliance.

What I also noticed in this episode was the stark contrast between the past and the future. Again, the lighting has come up trumps. In the police scenes, the lighting and colour palate  is cold, blues and grey. There the sense of the professional. Whereas, in contrast, the ‘One night’ day scenes are bright, searing sunlight.

Despite a few clunky moments in the script. This episode was insightful for audiences, we learned that Rochelle wasn’t as bad as Ned believed her to be, she ‘kept her head down’ and was expected to go to Oxford. She has a secret love with a rival gang member. Her character is complex, fleshed out, real.

Furthermore, what I didn’t notice last episode was the fact that Paul Smith intoduces the next character at the end of each episode. Like a runner in a relay running just before their team mate gets to them. In this last segment, we hear from Carol (Jessica Hynes), Rochelle’s mum and ‘her day’, ‘her dream’. Smith tantilises his audiences, teases us in to watching the next episode to find out what Carol’s side of the story is.

Two words, Watch. This.

One Night is on tomorrow night on BBC One, at the later time of 10:45 – 11:45pm