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.


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


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