Viewpoint (3 stars)


Brooding five-part drama about a surveillance mission into a missing teacher that has a few hitches along the way

Fictional men surreptitiously gazing and covertly spying has a long and torrid tradition, from Norman Bates in Psycho to Mark Lewis in Peeping Tom, and the creepy phone caller in Scream. With a long-lens camera in his clutches, Noel Clarke's surveillance detective Martin Young trying to work out what's happening in one of the flats opposite is most obviously cut from the same cloth as Hitchcock's Rear Window. Luckily for Young, the residents being spied upon are very accommodating by keeping their lights on and blinds open, spending an inordinate time acting suspiciously while beside the window.

Popular primary schoolteacher Gemma Hillman (Amy Wren) has gone missing, and doubt is immediately cast on her partner Greg Sullivan (Fehinti Balogun) who drinks heavily and is prone to flashes of anger. But does that make him a kidnapper and possible stone-cold killer? And what of the flat just a door or so along, in which a friend of the missing woman (Catherine Tyldesley's go-getting young mother Kate Tuckman) seems to have a troubled relationship with her own husband Carl (Dominic Allburn). What does it all mean?

Were Young to be spying on his own, this might have become quite dull very quickly. But he has set up his operation in the home of single mum Zoe Sterling (Alexandra Roach) who knows all the possible suspects and so has her own opinions about the case, slowly taking on a larger role within this spying game. That leaves Young in a rather tight spot from time to time, made all the more awkward given that he left the investigating squad he's now collaborating with some time previously after a mission went horribly wrong.

Neither especially tense nor particularly boring, this five-parter has Noel Clarke set on default brooding mode, the odd resigned smile managing to appear on his face, while the rest of the cast seem to know they're involved in perfectly serviceable mini-series fodder. On its Friday wrap-up, Viewpoint does throw a couple of strong twists in our direction which makes the nightly commitment to follow this all the way through just about worth it.

ITV, Monday 26–Friday 30 April, 9pm.