The Way Review: Earnest, Weird British Dystopian TV Is Back

Remember the politicised society-falls-apart TV of the 1960s and 1970s? The Way does.

Callum Scott Howells holding a sword aloft in the poster for BBC One's The Way
Photo: BBC

First of all – is the BBC allowed to air a drama without a detective or a horse-drawn carriage in it? Can somebody check?

Crime and period’s drama dominance isn’t the only modern TV trend bucked by The Way. Actor Michael Sheen’s directorial debut is a wild throwback to the society-falls-apart TV of the past: Threads. The Year of the Sex Olympics. The Guardians. Cold Lazarus… all those wiggy, provocative Nigel Kneale and Dennis Potter stories that aimed for more than just audience share.

Written by Sherwood and Quiz’s James Graham, and co-created with documentary maker Adam Curtis, The Way also aims high – too high for what it’s able to achieve in three episodes, making it much more a curio than a must-see.

The drama imagines a Welsh civil uprising that turns the country into a closed-border police state and its people into persecution-fleeing refugees. It follows the Driscolls, a Port Talbot family of four who’ve been fractured by the drug addiction of youngest son Owen (It’s a Sin’s Callum Scott Howells). When a local superstition about the town’s future is fulfilled, Owen drags the family into a fight against the authorities and they become accidental poster children for revolt. So begins their escape attempt into England and beyond, through a weird landscape of intolerance, mysticism and folkloric myth.


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