The Driver: Horses for courses

the-driverPS_3048423aOne of my friends is a taxi driver. I know, I know, you’re tired of hearing about the showbiz circles I mix in, but it’s entirely relevant for this post. Watching the terminally miserable looking David Morrissey’s performance as ‘sick of life’ cabbie Vince McKee was pretty much like watching my friend. Except for the bundling someone into a boot bit.

The incidences of vomit stained seats, incontinent drunks, foul mouthed abuse, shouty business conversations and uppity passengers criticising your chosen route would drive most people to a bit of road rage and Vince’s descent into being a man pushed over the edge was written and performed well, and stirred a kind of stressed but empathetic tension within me as I watched.

The setup was this: taxi driver Vince has been married for 18 years, has a teenage daughter and his life seems stuck in a rut. His job is dead end and the reappearance of an old friend who has been released from prison opens up a temptation to join a life of crime, overseen by the guy with the gun from the Alan Partridge Film.  

It takes Vince about five minutes, which involve his daughter’s boyfriend being a bit of a snob and then a mugging from two girls who can’t control their bladders, to decide to accept the offer from the mysterious criminal, affectionately known as The Horse. Perhaps when Vince was asked if he wanted to spend time with The Horse, he misheard but, either way, he’s now got himself embroiled into a life of crime that began to speed (both figuratively and literally) out of control.

The new cashflow allowed Vince to treat his daughter, Katie (whom Corrie fans will remember as Sian from Coronation Street) to some driving lessons and to splash out on an anniversary that his wife, Rosalind, had forgotten. By the end of the episode, this novelty had worn well and truly off.

As the jobs increasingly interrupted the home life Vince was now regretting becoming bored with, he became trapped in the dark world that led him down the murky (and cliché TV drama) route of police chases and revenge attacks.

As he bundled a young lad into the boot of a car (with the ever so subtle help of a club wielding friend, Colin, played brilliantly by Ian Hart) Vince’s face said it all: ‘What the hell have I gotten myself into’?

This was a drama that didn’t hit us with anything new or revolutionary. A down and out middle aged man tempted into a life of crime and getting out of his depth is far from a new concept to television and there was a real risk that the predictability of the plot would leave this drama lacking. However, the acting performances of a very strong cast, and some engaging writing, elevated the show beyond mediocrity and provided an adequately strong piece of television that was an easy watch.

David Morrissey, as always, pulled off an excellent performance and viewers would be able to feel some degree of sympathy for his character. Ian Hart gave his all to the reckless character of Colin, who was involved in the best scene of the show, where he found his twin brother coming out of his pregnant girlfriend’s home. Colm Meaney played ‘The Horse’ with just the right amount of menace and, despite being older than the character she played, Sacha Parkinson was an incredibly believable angst ridden and excitable teenager.

It was most definitely worth watching, and something that I will more than likely see through to the end. But what were your views on the debut of this drama? Why not let me know by leaving a comment below. We can enter even further into the discussions of all things TV and entertainment if you follow my Twitter account at:

Written By Our Man In The North

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