the following events are based on a pack of lies review

The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies review | Deliciously pulpy psychological thriller

Alistair Petrie makes a wonderfully silly psychopath in the story of two women against a conman. Here’s our review of the new BBC drama.


Episodes watched: 4 of 5

It’s a story you’ve probably heard before. In the age of seemingly endless suspicious call centres and emails promising untold riches to the thousandth customer on a dodgy website, getting scammed out of your cash is all too easy nowadays.

Rebekah Staton’s Alice Newman, the protagonist of the BBC’s latest evening drama The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies, would probably agree. In fact, she definitely would: 15 years ago, you see, her husband Rob (Alistair Petrie) suspiciously disappeared after persuading her and her father to put all their savings in some dodgy-looking property investments.

So, when a very familiar-looking man calling himself Dr Robert Chance appears giving lectures on climate change and cuddling up to acclaimed fantasy author Cheryl Harker (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), Alice takes it upon herself to protect this woman from the same fate that befell her all those years ago.

But then again, maybe she shouldn’t. Maybe this Dr Chance isn’t her husband after all. Maybe, just maybe, she’s going mad.

The Following Events does have a pretty familiar-sounding set-up. Thankfully, it absolutely knows it. Sex Education’s Alistair Petrie makes for an outrageously ludicrous con man, finding increasingly baffling jumps of logic to slime his way out of awkward situations with all the charm of a heavily greased lizard. He’s the slippery glue that holds the whole show together, and as the stakes ramp up, it’s his wonderfully hateable antagonist that holds our attention.

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Rebecca Staton and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, meanwhile, make for entertainingly different would-be victims for Petrie’s climate scientist shark. Staton in particular carries some of the show’s most emotional beats well, and her character proves a really affecting insight into the mindset of a domestic abuse victim.

Not everything works all the time, and the first few episodes are slightly slow-going as the drama goes through the rather predictable motions. But by the time the series hits its stride in episode four, it proves itself a ludicrously entertaining Tuesday evening drama that’ll leave you begging for more.

The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies will launch with weekly episodes on BBC One from 29th August. All episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer.

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