It seems like a long time since any political based comedy or drama has been as bizarre, horrifying, or ineptly hilarious as real-life politics. Thankfully, acclaimed writer David Hare’s four-part series Roadkill is here to offer some cynical escapism with an unmissable cast led by Hugh Laurie and Helen McCrory.
Early on it is made clear that Hugh’s Laurie’s Conservative MP Peter Laurence isn’t a good person. Arguably, he’s an MP so automatically it’s assumed he is embroiled in a series of salacious scandals. Which is exactly what’s happening when we first meet him, freshly victorious in a vicious libel case, Peter flashes that well-trained smile that hides a million lies. He might be a morally questionable person, but he’s played by Hugh Laurie which means he’s as charming as he is cunning.
As a career politician Peter has more than a few buried secrets, and a worryingly long list of people he has stepped on, stabbed in the back, and burned to get where he is today. A proud rule breaker and risk-taker, Peter is the worst kind of politician, he’s only in it for himself. Keeping his eye on the top job in the country, Peter attempts to quash the mounting tabloid headlines about his past; he even reassures the PM (Helen McCroy) that he is “squeaky clean”. Spoiler alert, he’s not.
Hare returns to familiar ground after the recent Collateral and the fantastic Worricker Trilogy (Page Eight, Turks & Caicos, Salting The Battlefield) that starred Bill Nighy. Predictably, Laurie is on fine form here, drawing on that menace we saw in The Night Manager, he laces Peter with charm and a dangerous self-destructive streak. However, Laurie has his work cut out for him in any scene he’s with McCroy’s steely Dawn Ellison, the Peaky Blinders’ matriarch is sure to a favourite come awards season.
In recent years, real-world politics has become more farcical and even the likes of Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It) has stated it’s difficult to parody. Roadkill isn’t a scathing satire (like Armando Iannucci’s latest sci-fi comedy Avenue 5 which happens to star Hugh Laurie), it’s a well-acted, well-written political drama that touches upon a great many issues. However, for all the twists and turns it doesn’t quite go to the jugular as you might hope.
Roadkill is out now on DVD & Blu-ray.