What Remains on DVD

Sunday, 06 October 2013 11:29

What Remains - out now on DVDWhat Remains is a four-part murder mystery from the BBC, starring Shameless actor David Threlfall. The heavily decomposed corpse of a young woman is discovered in the attic of a small tenement building. DI Len Harper (Threlfall) suspects foul play despite a lack of evidence. He retires soon afterwards but refuses to let the case go cold, in the process stirring up some very unpleasant secrets amongst the remaining inhabitants.

The serial also stars Russell Tovey (Being Human) and Amber Rose Revah (The Bible) as Michael and Vidya, a young, expectant couple who have just moved in, Steven Mackintosh (Luther) and Claudie Blakley (Lark Rise to Candleford) as Kieron, a recent divorcé with a dysfunctional son and Kieron’s new girlfriend Patricia, David Bamber (“Valkyrie”) as Joe, a callous teacher, and Denise Gough as Liz Fletcher, an ex-pupil he keeps secreted away in his ground-floor flat.

The final tenants of the block are lesbian couple Elaine (Indira Varma – Rome) and Peggy (Victoria Hamilton – “Mansfield Park”), whose idyllic relationship may not be quite as solid as appearances first suggest.

This is a dark and murky story that slowly peels away the layers of deception and economical truth that the characters put out in public, until the bare, sordid and ugly bones remain. The character of Len is primarily an entry point for the audience to voyeuristically enter these people’s lives and uncover the truth. Having said that, Threlfall does a great job as the tired but persistent ex-detective; he comes across as very genuine and is far from perfect on his own.

The story is nicely paced, constantly hopping from one group of residents to the next, and in the process piecing together the miserable life and death of Melissa (Jessica Gunning – Law & Order: UK), the deceased young woman. Topical, soul-searching themes emerge such as bullying, hatred, selfishness and lust. This might only be a small block of flats but the lack of community spirit is very topical.

If the series makes any wrong moves, I would suggest that the final episode features a few too many twists and shocks. Despite some unpleasant goings-on it is typically a fairly gentle tale, albeit one with plenty of characters you would probably not want to count as your neighbours!

One thing is certain: the audience is artfully kept guessing as to the identity of the killer, and I guarantee you will be hooked once you cross the threshold.

The insubstantial special features amount to just text biographies and a picture gallery.

What Remains (2013) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Acorn Media. The box set has a running time of 240 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £19.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com


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