The Driver: 1.01

Google changing their doodle to an Autumnal theme wasn’t the only sign that summer is nearly over, there’s the noticeable change in midweek TV on the schedules. This week it’s the turn of the BBC to introduce a new drama, The Driver.

After a great opening chase sequence where a rainy Manchester feels a little like a sunny San Francisco - there are echoes of the brilliant driving scenes in Bullett - it goes into cliche mode for twenty minutes or so. Vincent McKee, played by the ever watchable David Morrissey, has got a shitty life. If that’s not obvious from the ubiquitous trailers for the show then it’s rammed home; someone pukes in Vincent’s taxi, his daughter alludes to his crap job, his wife barely acknowledges him, and his daughter’s boyfriend is a smart arse toe rag. All good and normal then.

Next up in the cliche list is the ex-con best friend, in the form of Ian Hart who despite his accent wandering all over the M62, plays a lying scrote well. Playing to type, but again very well, is Colm Meaney as The Horse, the criminal mastermind that Vincent begins to work for.

There are some terribly stupid scenes, such as the one where Vincent gets mugged off by two stupid girls, but the whole thing is ultimately watchable. Mainly due to one thing: David Morrissey. The Liverpudlian was recently on our screens as the wacky, screw loose The Governor in The Walking Dead and as another every man in the Beeb’s The 7.39 earlier this year. As the title character he sells every scene, at home with his distant wife or his teenage daughter, with the mobsters, at the taxi rank, in the taxi with the various losers he seems to pick up. The hangdog expression is perfect and the hope that you can see in his eyes when his life isn’t treating him like shit is heart-melting.

The Driver is OK, you can see where it’s going from here, but David Morrissey is fantastic, one of the UK’s best actors and still underrated.

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