TV Review: London Spy

This is a relatively spoiler free review of London Spy – No need to proceed with caution!

Danny (Ben Whishaw) is embroiled in a mystery when his lover Alex is found dead in BBC2's London Spy.
Danny (Ben Whishaw) is embroiled in a mystery when his lover Alex is found dead in BBC2’s London Spy.

It’s the same old story¬†– boy meets boy, boy falls in love with boy and eight months down the line finds boy’s body in a locked suitcase and sets out to find his killer. OK, maybe it isn’t the most usual story, in fact it sounds quite original – either way this is the premise of London Spy, the drama that has been unfolding on BBC2 for the last five Monday nights.

The show features an all star cast – Jim Broadbent and Ben Whishaw are in major roles as Scotty and Danny respectively and has an extremely good premise. Everyone needs someone to make them step back from the edge sometimes and in his lover Alex (Edward Holcroft), Danny had found just that. The twist coming when Alex is found dead and everything Danny thought he knew about Alex turns out to be a lie – right down to the name.

London Spy is your typical BBC2 drama. It’s gripping but thoughtful, traditional but groundbreaking. The gay sex scenes have nothing on those that were screened in Queer As Folk fifteen years ago, but this is the BBC we’re talking about – boundaries were challenged in BBC terms. The viewer is also forced¬†throughout to consider the difference between what is actually real and not, which, though somewhat symptomatic of this style of writing, works incredibly well. This is a mystery which will keep you hooked.

If there is to be any criticism it lies in pacing and ending of the story. Firstly this is a show for people that like long, silent, thoughtful gaps. It is almost as if the writer wanted us the viewer to contemplate the situation as much as lead character Danny. Secondly, this is a show for people who like a surprise ending. Keeping this review spoiler free, it can be said without hint, that when the truth eventually comes out it is both satisfying and complicated in its own right, leaving the viewer with a lot to reflect on as a result.

In short, London Spy is an enjoyable, thoughtful and challenging drama that will leave you hooked until the last minute – with an extra twist ensuring that a second series is not entirely out of the question….

Nutleyone rating: 4/5

London Spy was originally broadcast on BBC2 between 9th November and 7th December 2015. Episodes are available to purchase from Amazon Video or iTunes, or alternatively all five episodes are currently available to view on BBC iPlayer – but be quick – episode 1 is only available until 9th December.