“Relentlessly powerful television”

The Virtues

The Virtues, Channel 4

“It’s a brutal, bruising brilliant hour. Unspoken pain infuses every scene, every gesture and expression from Stephen Graham and in doing so lays the foundations, surely, to do justice to the suffering of victims everywhere.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“Sometimes drama can be so good, so peeled back, raw and honest that you have to look away. The Virtues is one such drama. The scene I found most unbearable was when Joseph said goodbye to his son. It was so sad and naturalistic, as was the family meal that preceded it, that at times it could have been a fly-on-the-wall documentary.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“Graham is an actor of raw emotional power, nakedly honest and unpredictable, but I spent whole minutes of the first episode wanting to be anywhere else but in a room with him, as he suffered and tried to deal with his suffering. Not because his performance wasn’t brilliant, but because it was.”
Chris Harvey, The Telegraph

“The final scenes of Joseph’s all-nighter were a lurching, head-spinning stagger through a shopping precinct, the sound blurred and the picture reeling, apparently filmed by the actor himself. The hangover that followed, and the lies Joseph told his son to hide what he’d done, were nauseating in every way. But this was relentlessly powerful television.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“There is a broader point here too, about what it means to be a man, and a good man at that, in a world which still prefers its men to be strong, and hardy, and untouched by emotion. Stephen Graham is spellbinding as he shows Joseph slowly fracturing under the strain.”
Barbara Speed, The i

Mum, BBC2

“Mullan and Manville remain magnificent: he has a speech in the fifth episode to rank with the greatest romcom soliloquys, and just the way he looks at her with his happily creased eyes will put sunshine in your heart for a month. But the miracle writer/director Stefan Golaszewski performs here is in humanising his small army of monsters, giving characters who were once cartoons a heartbreaking inner life that previous seasons only hinted at.”
Jack Seale, The Guardian

“The comedy in Mum can be so broad that it seems to have been parachuted in from sitcoms of millenniums past. Yet this seems to be all part of Golaszewski’s design. And as the warmth in the humour reveals itself, it becomes one of the show’s most enjoyable features.”
Chris Harvey, The Telegraph

“The claustrophobic setting and shorter timescale promise to ramp up tensions around the new relationship, a poorly hidden pregnancy and the fact that on the face of it, most members of this family have little in common. But it also pulls on the heartstrings like never before.”
Barbara Speed, The i

“Try as I might, I’ve never warmed to Mum. As with all saints, it’s hard to have much sympathy for anyone who invites the world to walk over her. But the thing that really annoys me is that quirky, hand-clappy music. It sounds like the sort of busker you’d cross the street to avoid.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail