A must for fans of the work of author Martina Cole, and with plenty in the tank to entertain those who simply enjoy gritty crime drama, The Runaway
is a story that pulls very few punches. Spread across six episodes, it’s set in the late 1960s, and follows two youngsters, Cathy and Eamonn, as they’re brought up in the East End of London.
As you might expect, things aren’t easy for the characters in The Runaway. Cathy is the daughter of a prostitute, while Eamonn is lured into a life of crime. Yet what bonds them together is what they both have to do when the chips are down. And one event, as is often the way, has ramifications.
The Runaway is about as far away from a glossy television thriller as it’s really possible to get. And there’s little doubt that the programme earns that 18 certificate that adorns the box. Yet there’s a strong, grown-up drama here, and it’s livened by some terrific performances.
The two leads, for instance, are excellent. Jack O’Connell, best known from Skins, and Joanna Vanderham, who has a bright future ahead of her, take the main roles, and handle them well. Meanwhile, there’s compelling work too from Keith Allen and Alan Cumming. Between them all, there’s a constant compulsion to see what happens next.
The high definition upgrade afforded by the Blu-ray release is worth a look. The Runaway punches above what you might expect of television values, and while the picture is hardly bright and bubbly, the downbeat world of the drama comes across strongly in 1080p.
It’d be remiss to suggest that The Runaway breaks much in the way of new ground. But it’s strong drama, well made, and if you can stomach it, it’s well worth your time. --Jon Foster
From the makers of the hit series The Take
, the latest tale of crime and corruption from best-selling crime writer Martina Cole follows the lives of two childhood sweethearts. Cathy Connor and Eamonn Docherty are brought up together in the East End. As the daughter of a prostitute, Cathy's life is difficult, especially when everyone assumes that she will be following in her mother's footsteps. But when Cathy is forced to protect her mother from a violent attack by a punter it changes her life forever. Cathy is taken into care but she suffers institutional abuse which leaves her with no choice but to run away. She ends up destitute, on the streets of Soho when Desrae, a transvestite, unexpectedly comes to her rescue. Meanwhile, Eamonn is rising up the ranks of the East End criminal underworld.