. . . Stellan Skarsgård – or, should I say, John River, the leading character in River. This BBC crime drama, scripted by Abi Morgan, has been perhaps the stand-out show of the year for me, even I wasn’t totally convinced at the beginning. A policeman who sees dead people? How was this going to work? Hadn’t we been here with Sixth Sense?
But I was won over as this dark, complex, richly textured drama unfolded (once I had got over a policeman – even a Swedish one – having such a stylish flat in central London). Skarsgård was inspired casting, totally convincing as a man whose troubled mind manifests itself in hallucinations, the kind of person you sometimes see arguing with invisible people in the street. The rest of the cast was also first-rate, especially Nicola Walker, River’s police partner, the mystery of whose death torments him. Adeel Akhtar as River’s sympathetic new sidekick and Lesley Manville as River’s long-suffering boss were also excellent. The final episode last Tuesday was very touching – no spoilers – and entirely satisfying. I’ve pre-ordered the DVD – there could be no greater complement! – so that I can watch the whole thing all over again.