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I TALK Fortitude

If you've watched any television at all in the past couple of weeks, you're bound to have seen the Fortitude trailer from Sky.

If you have, you don't need me to tell you that visually, Fortitude is stunning. But in terms of substance, does Fortitude, one of the most anticipated TV shows of 2015 live up to the hype?

Well if I'm honest, you may spend the best part of the first episode thinking it doesn't, as it does take a while to get going, but when it does, it's very good and by the time the first episode is over, I suspect you will be left wanting to see more.

And it's no surprise really with a cast as spectacular as this one; Michael Gambon (Harry Potter), Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games), Sofie Gråbøl and Christopher Eccleston but to name a few.

Earlier on this month I attended the World Premiere of Fortitude in London where we were treated to the first 90-minute feature-length episode. Seeing it up on the big screen really was something of a treat, and it became evident very quickly as to why the series cost £25m. Fortitude will become the first Sky original programme to launch simultaneously to 20 million customers in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.

Fortitude is a place like nowhere else, it's surrounded by the savage beauty of the Arctic landscape and is one of the safest towns on earth with only 713 people living there. There has never been a violent crime in Fortitude... that was until now of course. When someone gets murdered, the close-knit community that live there are visibly shaken, which threatens the future of the town itself.

Comparisons between this and the likes of The Killing and The Bridge are inevitable. After all, it's a cold and bleak place and it appears as though the few people who live there are all hiding a secret. Fortitude isn't an example of Britain having a go at Nordic Noir, and whilst they may be some similarities in terms of style and subject matter between this and The Killing, I'd be more inclined to say the series holds more similarity with David Lynch's Twin Peaks.

The fantastic Michael Gambon plays Henry Tyson, a photographer of nature who has been living in Fortitude longer than anyone else but after the events on one day leads to disaster, his life and indeed his world are never the same again. Henry is the first character we are introduced to and throughout the first episode, Gambon delivers a very strong and powerful performance.

It goes without saying really that the cast are all brilliant and each bring their own fantastic acting skills to their performance, making it a real ensemble piece.

Christopher Eccleston plays Professor Charlie Stoddart, who is a scientist of the natural world makes a discovery which is every natural scientist’s dream and is desperate to protect it. But at what cost? Time will tell I guess...

Richard Dormer plays Sheriff Dan Anderssen who's the Sheriff of Fortitude, and it's not until the murder in the first episode that Dormer starts to prove himself and things get even more entertaining when a certain DCI Eugene Morton arrives.

Then there's Sofie Grabol, who of course was in the US remake of The Killing, plays Hildur Odegard, who's the Governor of Fortitude and has some very big plans for what to do with Fortitude. A lady with ambition, Hildur definitely blossoms throughout the episode into a character with more levels than we had previously thought.

There are many more fine actors involved in Fortitude including Sienna Guillory who plays scientist Natalie Yelburton, Nicholas Pinnock who plays Frank Sutter, Luke Treadaway who plays scientist Vincent Rattrey and Jessica Raine who plays Jules Sutter.

But for me the highlight of the first episode came an hour in, when DCI Eugene Morton appears, played by the fantastic Stanley Tucci. His performance had it all, laughter, drama, and everything in between. He arrives at the perfect time, throughout the entire episode there has been very little comic relief, if any but DCI Morton certainly sorts that out.

Don't get me wrong, he doesn't suddenly turn the show into a comedy but the shades of lightness in amongst all the darkness is welcomed. If you were to ask me which character I was most looking forward to seeing in the second episode, I would have to say Tucci's DCI Eugene Morton.

So all in all, Fortitude shows a lot of promise and with a cast as fantastic as that and a setting as stunning, I'm sure that for the next 11 weeks we're in for a real treat. So get ready, because I think we've just found everyone's next favourite boxset.

Fortitude starts Thursday 29th January at 10pm on Sky Atlantic

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