Review: Ordinary Lies (Series 2, Episode 1)

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80%
80
Great

Ordinary, but never boring - the lies told by Con O'Neill and co are enthralling from start to finish.

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TV anthologies are all the rage right now. They enable a revolving door of stories to be told, and talented cast members to each have their moments in the spotlight. In the same vein of success stories American Horror Story and True Detective, but grounded in a very BBC style of realism and the everyday, comes Ordinary Lies – which returns tonight for its second series.

The new “ordinary lies” are told from a warehouse and call centre in Wales. We are subtly introduced to a host of talent, playing the business’ various employees; there’s a glimpse of Fresh Meat star Kimberley Nixon here, a fleeting appearance from EastEnders‘ Matt Di Angelo there. However, this week’s drama focuses on the charismatic Head of Sales, Joe (Con O’Neill). At first it seems like Joe’s story is one we’ve seen many times before – the paranoid husband – but it soon becomes apparent his story is far more complex.

Con O’Neill is enigmatic in the lead role, as the man we all know, hiding his problems behind a bright smile and numerous bad ‘Dad’ jokes. Jill Halfpenny is surely typecast in the role of Joe’s wife Belinda (she’s known for her work in BBC dramas Waterloo Road and In The Club), but as the family’s past rears its ugly head, she acts her socks off. You can see why the BBC keeps coming back for more of her stellar acting. Future characters and their own deceptions are hinted at, notably the troubled blossoming relationship between Ash (Luke Bailey) and Ally (Jennifer Nicholas), and the company’s boss, Jenna (Angela Griffin). The dialogue is fast-paced and refuses to allow these everyday dramas become boring. Ordinary Lies, with big consequences.

Ordinary Lies airs on BBC One, Tuesdays at 9pm. You can catch up with the first episode via BBC iPlayer.

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Culture Editor of the Edge. Sporadic writer for the Wessex Scene and the National Student. Bad habits include losing myself in Netflix, not doing my work and eating too many sweets.

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