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The Cry: everything you need to know about the BBC1 show

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Kayleigh Dray
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The Cry, BBC One

Jenna Coleman’s tense new drama, The Cry, will definitely fill the void left by Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard.

Autumn is upon us, which can only mean one thing: more brilliant TV shows to get stuck into. And, hot on the heels of the Bodyguard’s finale (which aired on Sunday 23 September) comes The Cry, a fraught drama starring Victoria’s Jenna Coleman and Top Of The Lake’s Ewan Leslie.

Here’s everything you need to know about the BBC One’s four-part series, which launched on Sunday 30 September at 9pm.

1) It is not based on a true story

The Cry’s executive producer, Claire Mundell, was recently asked about the parallels between the story of the show and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007.

However, she was quick to deny that the series was based upon this tragic true-life event.

She said: “There are umpteen sadly different high profile cases which have occurred over the years and there was no specific case that we were drawn upon.

“The show is an adaptation of a novel, and what interested me about the novel when I first read it was that it spoke about a very contemporary sort of crime.

“It spoke about things that are important in our contemporary world and the way we are quick to judge and the media are quick to stoke that judgment as well, but it’s based on Helen’s book.”

2) Jenna Coleman takes the lead

Joanna (Coleman) is struggling to cope following the birth of her first baby when she and her husband, Alister (Leslie), travel to Australia to visit his mother and fight for custody of his teenage daughter from a previous marriage. But, as she slowly adapts to life in in a strange new country, the unthinkable happens: Joanna’s newborn son goes missing. It is the catalyst for a journey into the disintegrating psychology of a young woman, exposing the myths and truths of motherhood – and changes Joanna and Alister’s lives (and marriage) forever.

Watch the trailer for The Cry below:

Speaking about the role, Coleman has said: “The psychological thriller aspect of how much you give to the audience has been really challenging – probably more than any other role before.

“You are constantly living within a double-bluff. You’re playing the truth of the scene but also thinking about how much you want to give to the audience each moment to keep the mystery and to keep drawing on the strings.

“You’re living constantly within a vortex, that’s what we kept calling it on set. It’s a double bubble.”

3) There might be more to Ewan Leslie’s character than meets the eye

Speaking about his character, Leslie has said that Alister is “someone who likes to be in control” and slowly starts to unravel throughout the series.

“He is a tricky character,” the Top of the Lake actor continued. “I imagine he will be a tricky character for the audience. He’s a tricky character to play because he’s not very sympathetic.”

Coleman added that Leslie was “extremely clever at switching” in-between scenes.

“In some ways, Alistair is charming and generous, you could see him as the ideal partner in many ways, but yet you could also see Alistair as controlling, manipulative,” she said.

“It takes a skilled performance to have all those aspects of that character and be delivering that very delicately.”

4) The show boasts a star-studded ensemble cast

In The Cry, Coleman and Leslie are joined by Stella Gonet (The Crown, House of Elliott), Sophie Kennedy Clark (Philomena, The Danish Girl) and Australian actors Asher Keddie (X Men: Origins, Offspring), Alex Dimitriades (Seven Types of Ambiguity), Markella Kavenagh (Romper Stomper) and Shareena Clanton (Wentworth).

5) It is based on Helen Fitzgerald’s book of the same name

The dark psychological drama is adapted from Helen Fitzgerald’s best-selling novel (also named The Cry), although viewers trying to avoid spoilers should only pick up a copy after they’ve finished the show: the conclusion is revealed in the very first page of the book.

The book’s synopsis reads: “He’s gone. And telling the truth won’t bring him back…

“When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world.

“Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other.

“Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right?”

Speaking about the TV adaptation, Fitzgerald said: “I’m thrilled that the first of my novels to be adapted is set in my two homes: Australia, where I was born and brought up, and Scotland, where I’ve lived for 26 years.”

“I’m truly honoured that the Goddess of Screenwriting, Jacquelin Perske, is adapting The Cry, and that Hot Scot Claire Mundell (Synchronicity) is producing. I can’t wait to see this.”

6) Jacquelin Perske wrote the script

Described as the “Goddess of Screenwriting” by Fitzgerald, Perske is perhaps best known for her work on Spirited, Love My Way and Seven Types of Ambiguity.

“I first read Jacquelin Perske’s script on a plane,” said Coleman, who admits to being a fan of Perske’s work. “It felt like walking a tightrope, racing page to page, unsettling, unknowable, uncomfortable, and thrilling.”

7) Glendyn Ivin is directing

Ivin’s work includes Safe Harbour, Gallipoli and The Beautiful Lie. The drama also has some great producers on board, with Brian Kaczynski and Claire Mundell for Synchronicity Films and Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Gaynor Holmes for BBC One.

8) When will episodes air?

The show will air on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday evenings. The first episode of The Cry, which aired on 30 September, is available to view on iPlayer now.

Images: BBC One

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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