Glue – Episode One – Review

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Glue, E4’s latest teen drama has been touted as a crossover between Skins and Broadchurch, which on the surface sounds like a strange and jarring combination. But Glue made for compelling viewing from start to finish and one which holds a lot of promise.

The staples of both programmes are evident from the onset. Sex, nudity, drinking, swearing and drug-taking are all concepts which Skins is renown for. And a large cast in a rural setting where a body is discovered is pretty much Broadchurch down to a tee. Glue details the harrowing discovery of Cal Bray’s (Tommy Lawrence Knight) broken and fractured body. It soon transpires that this group of friends all got wasted and all of them are rather vague about their whereabouts the previous night. Waking up hungover, it’s clear that they all sunk a fair few on the night of Cal’s murder.

Glue is brimming with visceral images, whether its bloody hands, the snap of a calf’s neck or the swinging genitalia of some of the young cast. These are bold images that will likely cause a ruckus, but that is probably what writer Jack Thorne (who also wrote Skins) wanted anyway. Although the first episode belongs more to some than others, the young cast shows extreme promise.

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The core group of friends consists of Charlotte Spencer’s Tina Fallon, who is really the star of this episode (seriously, give this young woman an award already); Rob Kendle played by Rizzle Kicks’ Jordan Stevens (surprisingly, he too can act!), who deals in drugs and is a bit of a layabout; Tommy McDonnell’s Dominic Richards, who doesn’t do much at all; Billy Howle’s James Warwick who discovers the body and who possibly fancies Rob (he gives him some seriously lingering looks, but who can blame him? Have you seen Jordan’s ears?!); Harry Potter alumni Jessica Cave, who doesn’t get much to do as Annie Maddocks, along with Faye Marsay’s Janine Riley; and Callum Turner’s Eli Bray, brother of victim Cal. Also prominent in the young cast is Yasmin Paige’s Ruth Rosen, a police constable with connections to the group of friends. It’s likely that one of these characters is the killer, and it’s similarly likely that the prime suspect will alter on a weekly basis. This week James is the prime suspect after we discover he possessed Cal’s necklace, but that’s clearly much too obvious.

So other than the discovery of the body, not a great deal occurs in terms of plot in this first episode. But a new show always has to deal with the problem of introducing it’s characters, and Glue just about manages this easily. Munching Mars Bars for breakfast and drugging himself up during a bath, Rob is clearly a waster. But it’ll probably transpire that he is wiser than he appears. Someone knows that he cheated on Tina, so expect this to reoccur later in the series. Ruth is also a character who we think we know right from the onset, but it is obvious that she will move somewhat from her police role as the weeks progress. She will surely become a member of this group as they grow closer during the investigation.

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Glue shows a lot of promise for a show which may, on the surface, sound rehashed. I get the feeling that all of these characters will be fleshed out as the weeks go on, and hopefully an ambiguous ending akin to Skins doesn’t await us down the line. So what do we want to see in the remaining episodes? A bloody good whodunnit, for a start – one which has the viewers questioning the motives of every single character. We want this group of friends to stick together, even though they will likely break apart due to the lies and secrets which will inevitable spill out. We want James to make a move on Rob, Annie to actually do something, and Cal to recur as a ghost. The reason he was murdered needs to be explored fully.

So Glue is a programme which we will be sticking with for the time being. Let us know in the comments what you thought of it.

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