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Wartime tale is top viewing; TVChoice The Night Watch (BBC Two, 9pm).

WHAT makes a good drama? Some people would argue that as well as a decent script and a great cast, you also need a strong beginning, middle and end.

The Night Watch definitely has all of that - just not necessarily in the order you would expect.

Based on the novel by Tipping the Velvet author Sarah Waters, the one-off drama opens in 1947, when a group of characters - along with the rest of the country - is contending with the fall-out from the war years.

We are introduced to Kay (Anna Maxwell Martin), who ceaselessly roams the streets as if haunted by some tragic loss. Meanwhile, Helen (Claire Foy) and Viv (Jodie Whittaker) run a marriage bureau but their own personal lives are less than perfect - Viv seems unable to break free from her married lover, and Helen is pursuing a tumultuous relationship with a woman named Julia (Anna Wilson-Jones).

To add to Viv's worries, her vulnerable brother Duncan (Harry Treadaway) is harbouring a secret of his own.

The action then moves backwards through the 1940s showing just how they came to be in their current positions.

It may be an unconventional way of relating a story, but Jodie Whittaker is convinced it was the right decision.

She says: "I think if this part of the book hadn't been emulated in the drama, then it would be a real loss. Sacrifices have to be made when transferring between a novel and a screenplay, but I think to have not used this would really have been to miss a trick." The narrative technique did have its drawbacks though. "It is hard to act though, one of my first scenes shooting was actually the last in the piece, so it was all quite confusing,"


Compelling: Viv, played by Jodie Whittaker, in The Night Watch.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 12, 2011
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