Coming Soon: Penance

Fans of Gold Digger and Flesh and Blood should warm to a new “tale of familial trauma and forbidden romance” that will stream exclusively on Acorn TV from October 12.

The psychological thriller Penance stars Julie Graham (The Bletchley Circle), Nico Mirallegro (My Mad Fat Diary), Neil Morrissey (Line of Duty) and Art Malik (Homeland).

The Guardian dubbed it “a lusty drama about an oedipal affair between an older woman and a younger man who looks just like her dead son” while The Sun called the three-part series “an apt illustration of the rash and erratic decisions grief can cause people to make, without thinking about the devastating ramifications for themselves or their families”.

The Sun also said each “truly encapsulating episode “kept us on the edge of our seats and provided twists and turns we didn’t see coming”.

The Times cited another twist. While Penance sounds as if Channel 5 is “going one step further into BBC/ITV bonkbuster territory … except it wasn’t quite that kind of thing.

“So far, at least. Instead of it being ‘simmering’ or ‘torrid’ the words that sprang to mind after the first episode were ‘hushed’ and ‘desolate’ — a pensive kind of potboiler, more about grief and the weird things it does to a person’s head, and definitely not just another show inviting you to envy large middle-class kitchens.”

But the New York Post dismissed Kate O’Riordan’s adaptation of her own 2016 novel, which screened on the Sundance Channel’s highbrow streaming service in the US, as “creepy, silly, predictable and overwrought”.

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