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I TALK Run

Aside from The Returned, which of course isn't British, Run is the most exciting show to land on Channel 4 in a very very long time.

Stretched over four nights starting from tomorrow, Run tells four stories which may seem unconnected at first, but the more you watch the more you realise that they are very much connected and together tell the story of a fascinating world, an everyday world most of us encounter every day.


I was lucky enough to attend a preview screening of Run at the Roundhouse back in March, when Broadchurch was halfway through its run and Olivia Colman was well on her way to the recognition she's spent so long working for. This show isn't all about Colman though, there are some wonderful performances throughout the series, which really help to bring the four stories to life, that and some brilliant writing by newcomers Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan and Marlon Smith.


Colman herself, pre-BAFTA success joined the screening for a Q&A afterwards and spoke very highly of the show and in particular its two writers, Daniel and Marlon, speaking very highly for how well they write for women.Colman was surprised to find out Run was written by two men and went on to say "I know a lot of female roles written women and they're shit. It's not their fault, they feel they won't get a look in if they have a female lead. And it's shit."


What really came across is how strong Colman is and how fed up she is of television being based around the idea that a male lead sells and a female lead doesn't. This of course is always changing, and Run is a fine example of that, as is The Fall, and a lot of the great dramas on television at the moment.


Colman is also one of those actresses who is able to do drama as well as comedy and does them both equally well. When questioned about this at the preview screening for Run, she said "I'm blessed to be allowed to do both. It wasn't until I started doing Drama that people were like "Oh, she can really act. She's an actor."


And act she sure can. In the very first episode we are introduced to her character Carol, a lager drinking, foul-mouthed single mother living on a council estate. She lives with her two sons, Terry and Dean, who are played by real-life brothers Billy and JJ Pamphilon whose naturally acting skills add so much to the drama.


Over the course of the episode we see Carol struggle with her life and in particular her two sons, who things get messy for very quickly when they unintentionally kill a guy who 'was looking at them'. Carol's life goes from bad to worse as she begins to put the pieces together that suggest her sons were involved in the killing.


This leads her to make a very difficult decision towards the end of the episode. Cue some brilliant crying by Colman, of the standard we've come to expect since that terrific scene in Broadchurch.


Episode two tells the story of Ying, played by Katie Leung, who we see in the first episode buying stolen goods from Carol, especially phones. Why does she buy these goods? What pressures is she under? What's her life like?These are all questions we find answers to episode two, but towards the end of episode one we begin to get a good idea of what we're about to witness.


She seeks refuge with a barber who takes her in, gives her job and tries to turn her life around. Does he succeed? Well, let's just say it seems her life is far too complicated for one guy to fix, but he does do his best.


What I really liked about Ying's story was that we all know of those people who sell DVDs on the streets, what we don't know though is the reason/people behind the reasons why.


This is something the writers, Daniel and Marlon, were very much interested as they say they "Wanted to tell the stories of those people you see everyday but don't really know much about." and that's exactly what Run is all about. Carol is your typical council estate mum, Ying as I've said your regular girl selling DVDs and Richard is the guy you're likely to see at an ATM machine asking for money.


Speaking of Richard, he's the focus for episode three. Played by Lennie James, we've seen Richard in the previous episode but just like Ying, haven't known a great deal about. THat is until now.


This episode allows us to delve deeper into Richard's life, as we learn of his drugs past, and how he's trying to put that behind him as he goes in search of his 14 year-old daughter Sabrina.

Life isn't easy for Richard, as we've already see but what Daniel and Marlon have managed to do is write a really heart-warming story of one guy and his struggle in the world.


Deep down inside Richard is a decent guy, but will his daughter, or indeed his daughter's mother ever be able to give him a second chance.


Episode four, and the final episode, tells the story of Kasia, played by Katharina Schuttler, the partner of Tomek, the guy who we saw being killed by Carol's two sons in the first episode. Tomek's death opens up a world that Kasia knew nothing about, including Tara.


Tara, played by Jamie Winstone, is a stripper who had been seeing Tomek whilst he was still seeing Kasia.

The story comes full circle as we get a parting shot of Carol's character right at the end of the series.


So whilst this is very much a four-part drama, I have a feeling it will become known as 'that brilliant drama Olivia Colman did on Channel 4' which is a bit of a discredit to the rest of the cast who each played a blinder across the series.


I've said it before, but I'll say it again, this is the most exciting and refreshing drama we've seen on Channel 4, in fact any channel all year. And with Top Boy returning later on next month, it's good for Channel 4 to become known for their hard-hitting gritty, urban dramas that many people watching can relate to.


I can't recommend Run enough, and since watching the first two episodes back in March I haven't been able to forget about it. Superb stories performed brilliantly by a wealth of great talent - what more do you want from an original British drama? Answer... not much. I'm hoping this series wins some awards this year, and in terms of Daniel and Marlon I feel like we have unearthed two brilliant screenwriters who Channel 4, if they had any sense, shouldn't let go of.


Run starts Monday 15th July at 10pm on Channel 4

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