“Raw and painfully good performances ensured this was more than an acted-out legal conundrum.”


Common, BBC1


“This is bleak, powerful drama thick with political intent, which occasionally robs it of its quality. Common works best when it is human and believable, when it resists the temptation to stand on its soapbox shouting about the issues. When it gets too writerly its lack of subtlety becomes glaringly obvious.”
Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian

“McGovern’s dramatic voice, too emphatic on occasion, has an irresistible fighting spirit and anyone who started watching this fearing it might be leftist claptrap would have been left angered by Johnjo’s plight. No doubt there will be better-crafted dramas this year, but I doubt any will leave me with such a sense of profound engagement.”
Ben Lawrence, The Telegraph

“Jimmy McGovern’s Common had an old-fashioned feel to it, but that is not necessarily a criticism. It was a campaigning piece, in the strain of Cathy Come Home in 1966 and McGovern’s own Hillsborough 30 years later. It was precisely and politically targeted in its timing.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

“Raw and painfully good performances ensured this was more than an acted-out legal conundrum, although there were moments when the dialogue should have been thrown out of court.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

“McGovern’s writing got the blood pumping at the injustice of this discriminatory law. It devastatingly revealed how Joint Enterprise has taken the class prejudice that treats every kid off the council estate as indistinguishable – or ‘common’ – and made it law.”
Ellen E Jones, The Independent

“The methodology of this poll was suspect – no one polled me, did they poll you? – but it did allow us the pleasure of hearing the likes of Smokey Robinson and Martha Reeves discuss some of the greatest music ever recorded. Shane from Boyzone was also on hand to… er… actually I’ve no idea what Shane was doing in a Motown documentary.”
Ellen E Jones, The Independent

“The Nation’s Favourite Motown Song contained a near-perfect ensemble of classic sounds for a weekend evening. What shone through in this tale was how the great sounds of Motown emerged through the sheer belief and resistance of the people making them.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express