MotherFatherSon - Richard Gere is seductively charming in this new BBC drama with echoes of Greek tragedy

Television, apparently, is where it’s at. Where the good stories and the good storytellers are, where the best actors are and where Hollywood stars can really show off their acting ‘chops’.

By Phil Cunnington
Friday, 8th March 2019, 2:10 pm
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 2:18 pm
Hollywood star Richard Gere appeared in a new BBC drama this week
Hollywood star Richard Gere appeared in a new BBC drama this week

Which I suppose is why Richard Gere showed up in the new drama MotherFatherSon (BBC2, Wednesdays, 9pm).

It was a bit weird seeing Gere on the small screen alongside worthy British thesps like Sarah Lancashire, and it was quite distracting thinking the Pretty Woman icon is now only one degree of televisual separation away from Curly Watts.

But once I stopped picturing the silver-haired charmer – Gere, not Curly – stacking the shelves at BettaBuys, I really started enjoying this knotty drama.

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This first episode was, admittedly, very keen to show off its high-sheen production and glossy cast in some equally high-sheen and glossy locations, and at times got very close to disappearing where the sun doesn’t shine.

The five best shows to watch on TV this weekThere was a hint of Greek tragedy about the plot, in which media mogul Gere and his ex-wife, aggressively virtuous charity volunteer Helen McCrory, used their drug addict son as a pawn in their own power battle.

And everything came weighted down in symbolism, from dying seals to a hand clasped across a table to a weird art display as a backdrop to a secret meeting.

But the performances are terrific, Gere in particular is charismatic, seductive, charming, and McCrory is his equal.

Meanwhile, the plot has the makings of a twisty-turner stomach-churner, and now this first episode is out of the way, I think it will really find its feet.

Now I just can’t wait for Tom Hanks’ guest turn in Holby City.

Fleabag (BBC1, Mondays, 10.35pm) returned, brilliantly. To call it a comedy does it a disservice, it’s so much more than that, and can provoke a laugh, a cry and a slight feeling of disgust in one line.

If you watched Leaving Neverland (Channel 4, Wednesday/Thursday, 9pm) you can’t be in any doubt that Michael Jackson was a paedophile. The testimony was too horribly believable.