Blood heralds a new era for Channel 5

Adrian Dunbar stars in the Channel 5 drama Blood
Adrian Dunbar stars in the Channel 5 drama Blood
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It was Philip Larkin who was rather rude about the effect your parents can have on you. His words came back to me watching Blood (Channel 5, weeknights, 9pm).

This Ireland-set family psychodrama was all about the mess mum and dad can make of their children. How their attitudes, behaviour, mistreatment can come back to bite you years later.

Adrian Dunbar is Jim, the patriarch of the Hogan family, living in middle class splendour in rural Ireland. The black sheep of the family, Kat (Carolina Main), returns home for the funeral of her mother, a motor neurone disease sufferer who has died in a fall.

Kat, who seems to have a slightly fragile grasp on reality, soon comes to believe that Jim has been up to no good, and tries to prove her mum did not die in accident.

But Kat’s good intentions have repercussions through this tight-knit community, where everyone has secrets and no one is who they seem.

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Blood is a departure for Channel 5, in that it’s not based around putting reality TV stars in incongruous surroundings, it’s not dodgy history about the Nazis, and it is actually really good.

You’re never quite sure if Kat is getting closer to the truth or further from reality, and Dunbar plays Jim with a sort of affable menace familiar from Line of Duty.

At the time of writing, the final episode has yet to be aired, and although there has been a confession, you feel certain there are still twists to come.

It’s not so much a crime drama, it’s about families and the ties that bind and how you don’t know someone, even when you live with them.

And hopefully, it’s about Channel 5 finally doing good TV.

Homecoming (Amazon Prime) features Julia Roberts in her first major TV role and it’s not what you might expect. It’s got a certain Hitchcock on acid sensibility, and Roberts is terrific.

Over on Netflix, meanwhile, is series three of swords and Saxons saga, The Last Kingdom. Abandoned by the BBC, Netflix picked it up, added a bit more gore and should have a massive hit.