Angela Black, episode 1, review: ITV gives domestic abuse the schlock-horror treatment

, Angela Black, episode 1, review: ITV gives domestic abuse the schlock-horror treatment, The Evepost BBC News
, Angela Black, episode 1, review: ITV gives domestic abuse the schlock-horror treatment, The Evepost BBC News

Are you enjoying Hollington Drive, a domestic thriller about a woman whose comfortable middle-class life hides deadly secrets? Then why not try Angela Black (ITV), which is the same but sillier?

It is brought to you by Harry and Jack Williams, the brothers who specialise in dramas that put Joanne Froggatt in peril. First they wrote Liar, which started well but went nuts over the course of two series. Now they’ve cast her in this, which starts well but goes nuts within the first half hour.

Disclaimer: I quite enjoy watching this sort of nonsense. It’s the TV equivalent of those post-The Girl on the Train novels with big titles in bold lettering, aimed squarely at women and called things like The Bad Husband or Don’t Put the Bins Out After Dark.

Angela seems to have the perfect life, if what you aspire to is a house full of designer sofas that are tonally matched to your outfit, in which to host dinner parties where you ask: “Are we coaster people?” Once the guests have gone, Angela’s husband, Olivier (Michiel Huisman), is revealed to be a domestic abuser who batters her so badly that he knocks out one of her teeth.

, Angela Black, episode 1, review: ITV gives domestic abuse the schlock-horror treatment, The Evepost BBC News

One night she is approached by a friendly stranger, Ed (Samuel Adewunmi). But he later turns out to be – he claims – a private investigator hired by her husband first to snoop on her for the purposes of a divorce battle, and then to murder her. Adewunmi gives a deliberately ambiguous performance.

There are shades of the Julia Roberts film Sleeping with the Enemy here – it would be no surprise if Angela opened a kitchen cupboard to find all the tins lined up in perfect rows – and you need to make peace with the fact that it takes a subject as grim as domestic violence and gives it the schlock-horror treatment.

But the script goes down some mad avenues. Why does it open with Angela talking about the colour of hippo sweat? Why is she so drawn to an angry German Shepherd? Why are we supposed to notice her reading My Name Is Lucy Barton and watching Brighton Rock? 

By the time Angela is sniffing Olivier’s trousers and complaining they smell of petrol, you’ll either have bailed out or decided to suspend your critical faculties and settle in.