”The writer has made sure that we remember Anthony’s life, so full of promise and cut short at 18.”

Anthony, BBC1 

“Maybe in hands other than McGovern’s – probably our finest TV writer since Alan Bleasdale, whose commitment to dramatising and humanising systemic social injustice he shares – it would have felt tricksy. Maybe without Anthony’s mother Gee’s input, or their friendship, it would have been a coldly clinical narrative exercise. But it worked to beautiful, shattering effect, aided beyond measure by a brilliant cast and two pitch-perfect performances in particular from Toheeb Jimoh as Anthony and Rakie Ayola as Gee. There is not a false note from either of them.”

Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“With this film, the writer has made sure that we remember Anthony’s life, so full of promise and cut short at 18. The project was planned long before the current Black Lives Matter protests, but it is a potent contribution to that debate. A black boy murdered by strangers, simply for being black. The brilliance of McGovern’s piece was in the structure: an alternative universe imagining the life that Anthony could have lived, told in reverse chronology. We scrolled back through the years, taking in fatherhood, marriage, a successful job interview, a first date. Seeing the countdown on screen, you wanted to halt the clock.”

Anita Singh, The Telegraph

“Anthony clearly had a powerful sense of right and wrong, borne of his Christian convictions (another good and rare thing about McGovern is that he can write about religion without instinctively criticising it). There was a saintliness about him that one might question in other dramas about other stories. Here it is certainly how Anthony is remembered by those who loved him, and this was essentially a film about grief and the gaping holes that bereavement leaves.”

Ben Dowell, The Times

Underlying the narrative, then, is a challenge to us as viewers. McGovern is indeed asking us to imagine an optimistic, utopian world in his vision of Anthony’s future: a world where black teenagers aren’t murdered in racist attacks. It’s an ongoing tragedy that this is not the world we live in.”

Barbara Speed, The i

“Toheeb Jimoh, as Anthony, delivered a convincing portrayal of decency and principle without tipping into cloying righteousness. Julia Brown was his adoring wife, who went into labour in a Sprinter railway carriage and gave birth while the train raced on for hours, never stopping — a surreal moment in a fantasy that tried otherwise to remain realistic. The life stolen from Anthony Walker can never be restored. But what this drama did at least do was to give his mother Gee a lasting glimpse of the joy she deserved, whether that was her son’s thanks to her at his wedding or the moment she learned she had become a grandmother. Bittersweet indeed.”

Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

Long Lost Family: Born Without a Trace, ITV 

ITV’s Long Lost Family series has become a bit of a quiet behemoth, reuniting hundreds of separated families with all the sensitivity that The Jeremy Kyle Show and its ilk so catastrophically failed to possess. By its nature, there was a lot of recycled material in the three stories featured on ITV, with an update tacked on to each – but the stories are so absorbing that they still managed to pack a punch. The uplifting and life-affirming tone of the stories featured left me wondering what happens when the rediscovered family doesn’t want to know, or the reality is less appealing. But it is heartening that these kinds of human interest stories can be told sensitively on television, and that the act of telling them can do some real good in their subjects’ lives.”

Barbara Speed, The i