Roadkill episode 3 recap: so, did Peter arrange Charmian’s “accident”?

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Warning: this article contains spoilers for episode three of BBC One’s Roadkill, so do not read on unless you are fully up to date with the political thriller

The clue was in the title, although we didn’t realise it. Because, while the laws of TV usually dictate that major characters are never killed off-camera, it seems Charmian (Sarah Greene) is well and truly dead in BBC One’s Roadkill after being mown down in a Washington DC street by a speeding van.

But, while the tenacious journalist is no longer, you better believe that she still has the power to take down government minister Peter Laurence (Hugh Laurie). 

Roadkill: Hugh Laurie as Peter Laurence.
Roadkill: Hugh Laurie as Peter Laurence.

That’s right, folks: thanks to some careful prodding by Margaret Moore (Katie Leung), Rochelle Madeley (Pippa Bennett-Warner) makes it her business to track down Charmian’s final interview.

And, come the end of the episode, the barrister hasn’t just listened to the mega-incriminating evidence on that dictaphone: she’s shared it with the press, too.

Which means that… well, it means that the house of cards Peter has built up around himself is about to come tumbling down around him in a very big way.

If you thought that was the only thing Peter had to worry about, though, you’d be wrong. Inside Stephill Prison, Steff (Gbemisola Ikumelo) has died of a drug overdose, prompting his illegitimate daughter Rose (Shalom Brune-Franklin) to demand a meeting with her sleazy politician dad. A demand which is overheard by one of the nosier prison guards, and promptly reported upwards.

Anyone else suspect that PM Dawn Ellison (Helen McCrory) will be filing this away in her arsenal against Peter? Especially as he’s now openly gunning for her position at No. 10?

Roadkill: Joe Lapidus (Pip Torrens), Alisha Burman (Natalie Dew), and Rochelle (Pippa Bennett-Warner).
Roadkill: Joe Lapidus (Pip Torrens), Alisha Burman (Natalie Dew), and Rochelle (Pippa Bennett-Warner).

Elsewhere, Peter’s daughter, Lily (Millie Brady) is serving up plates of raw chicken and outing her dad’s affair with Madeleine (Sidse Babett Knudsen) to her mum and sister. A revelation which, in turn, prompts a weary Peter to announce that he might have a third daughter, actually.

At first, Helen (Saskia Reeves) seems almost as disinterested in this news as Susan (Ophelia Lovibond) does. Once her big choir concert is out the way, though, she rounds on Peter. She’s not so bothered about the affairs, it seems: it’s the possibility others will learn about his secret love child and start pitying her for it.

“I’d prefer to be ignored,” she snaps.

All Peter wants to know, though, is whether or not his wife will continue lying on his behalf (she testified that he was in New York when he was actually being super-shady in Washington, after all).

Cue Helen throwing him out of the Hastings family home (hurrah!) and him dashing off to be with Madeleine, who is less than pleased to find him waiting for her in her flat. 

As this family soap opera plays out, Peter’s special advisor Duncan Knock (Iain de Caestecker) is left reeling when his boss (correctly) surmises that he’s the reason the PM knows about his clandestine dealings at Stephill prison.

And one has to wonder how Duncan, visibly hurt after being raked over the coals by an incensed Peter, will react to this brutal tongue-lashing. He does, after all, have access to all of Peter’s deepest, darkest, and most incriminating secrets.

All in all, it was an intriguing episode of Roadkill – but has it left you with more questions than answers? Don’t worry: Stylist’s digital editor-at-large Kayleigh Dray is here to do her utmost best to unravel them all.

Did Peter arrange for Charmian to be killed?

Someone high up is certainly behind the hit-and-run, but Peter seemed utterly bewildered when he was informed of Charmian’s death. In fact, he seemed more annoyed than anything, as he was far too busy focusing on how her untimely passing might reflect on him.

So, he’s either a very good actor or… well, innocent of premeditated murder. An utterly awful human being, of course, yet still innocent of premeditated murder.

Only time will tell which is the case, we suppose. 

And how did her dictaphone make it home?

As one savvy viewer noted on Twitter: “Who knew dictaphones still existed and surely it was on her when she was run over?”

Roadkill: Sarah Greene as Charmian Pepper.
Roadkill: Sarah Greene as Charmian Pepper.

Will Peter go and visit Rose in prison?

Hmm, it’d be tricky for him to do so without attracting attention, but it seems as if we’re building up to a big meeting between Peter and Rose in Stephill Prison. While we assumed that she had some grand scheme in mind, though, it seems she’s actually just looking to be accepted and loved by her biological father.

Whether Peter will do this, though, remains to be seen.

Is Peter based on Boris Johnson?

Well, that’s what everyone on Twitter seems to think.

“It’s going to end with Peter Laurence as Prime Minister isn’t it?” tweeted one viewer excitedly. 

“The lying cheating corrupt man is Boris, isn’t he?”

However, it’s worth noting that writer David Hare has insisted that Peter is very much a work of fiction.

“So much television drama is now based on documentary events that it is hard to remember the primary trigger for fiction is meant to be the imagination,” he said. 

“My hero, Peter Laurence, is not based on anyone. Nor are the other characters. Mine is a parallel world to the real one, and there is no secret passage between the two. You will be wasting your time if you think that the purpose of the series is to work out who everyone is ‘meant to be’. In Roadkill, neither Covid nor Brexit consume every politician’s waking hour.”

Who wrote the musical score to Roadkill?

If there’s one thing everyone on social media can agree with, it’s this: the music is the shining star of Roadkill.

For anyone wondering, that twinkly piano theme was penned by musician Harry Escott.

Will Julia betray Dawn?

It’s clear that Tory usurpers are hoping that Julia will help them oust the PM from power. What they’ve seemingly failed to realise, though, is just how close she and Dawn are.

As Helen McCrory explains: “Julia is Dawn’s right-hand woman. She is much younger than Dawn, which is interesting because when I first read it I thought she was senior to Dawn. I like the way it has been cast, I think it adds another element that obviously Dawn is trying to keep her finger on the pulse. I think she has promoted and supported Julia and brought her into the inner sanctum. She’s almost like a daughter figure.”

That being said, however, there’s a chance that Julia may feel she’s outgrown Dawn. She is, after all, the one who feeds the PM the information she needs to stay on top. She certainly holds the key to the PM’s downfall… and Peter’s succession, too.

The next episode of Roadkill will air Sunday 8 November at 9pm on BBC One.

Read our Roadkill episode two recap.

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Images: BBC One

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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