Thirty seconds in and a teenage boy has snorted drugs, taken his clothes off, run naked through a farmers field and jumped feet first into a grain silo. Not your average Monday night drama, then.
Glue, which premiered on e4 last Monday, depicts life in the fictional village of Overton and centres on a group of young people whose lives are rocked by the brutal murder of one of their own. Penned by several writers including Jack Thorne – known for works such as Skins and This is England – it’s easy to draw similarities to both shows in its snapshot of the lives of Britain’s youth.
That’s where the comparisons should end, though. Glue is a compelling drama in its own right, evoking a dark and often disturbing feel to the isolated, rural community. With carefully constructed glimpses into the lives of the characters, we see boredom and decay seeping into their everyday lives, along with troublesome and worrying scenarios that are present well before the murder is revealed. Right from the beginning, there is a sense that something could happen to any of the characters, thanks to the brooding cinematography and soundtrack. Along with the countryside location, the drama also offers a glimpse into the lives of the Romany community – a key setting in the programme – portrayed with what seems like a greater degree of authenticity than programmes and documentaries of recent years have shown.
The young cast features actors such as Yasmin Paige (Submarine), Jordan Stephens (one half of Rizzle Kicks), Faye Marsay (The White Queen), and Jessie Cave (Harry Potter’s Lavendar Brown), alongside up and coming actors Charlotte Spencer, Billy Howle and Callum Turner, who all give strong performances. At times the characters and their relationships with one another seemed a bit confusing, but hopefully this will be something explored and explained more in later episodes.
With a strong opening episode and an intriguing teaser for episode two, it looks like Monday nights this autumn could be worth staying in for.