The Driver, which began on BBC 1 tonight, opens with a car chase. It's not exactly Bullitt, and not only because the setting is Manchester, but no matter. The chap behind the wheel, fleeing the police, is David Morrissey, one of the most charismatic British actors, and these scenes makes for gripping viewing - a really good start to Danny Brocklehurst's three-part series. There's something in his boot that the driver doesn't want the cops to find - but what is it? When Morrissey finally makes good his escape, the action goes back in time by four weeks, and we learn what has led up to the chase.
Morrissey's character, Vince, is introduced to as a regular guy, a taxi driver with a pretty wife who is more interested in running marathons than their marriage, and an extremely pretty daughter whose taste in boyfriends dismays him. He works hard to make ends meet, but it isn't easy. His fares are rude and unpleasant, and his closest friend is a chap (nicely played by Ian Hart) who has just come out of prison after serving six years.
Vince is bored and depressed, and looking for something better out of life. His mate takes him to play poker with a philosophy-spouting gangster, who is keen to recruit a new driver who is reliable and doesn't ask awkward questions. He makes Vince an offer that is quickly refused, but before long, Vince has second thoughts. And, of course, his first job for the bad guy is easy, and well remunerated. But we know that things will go rapidly downhill from there.
And so they do. I thought the script well-written, with a few genuinely witty lines, and although the development of the story was rather predictable, it was done so capably that I didn't mind. Above all, though, Morrissey turns in a compelling performance - he really is at the top of his form at the moment. I'll definitely be watching again next week, and Morrissey is the main reason why.