Review: ITV's Hollington Drive started off slowly, but by the end got more tense than the Labour Party conference

Watching the new drama series Hollington Drive (ITV, Weds, 9pm), you’d be forgiven for thinking the only place with more tension, simmering rage and barely-concealed discontent was the Labour Party conference.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 5:00 pm

Set on a cul-de-sac on one of those executive housing estates –you know the ones, bifold doors, island units, his’n’hers sinks – the first half-hour of Hollington Drive gave me severe kitchen envy, even if aspirational couple Theresa (Anna Maxwell Martin) and Fraser (Rhashan Stone)didn’t seem to have a dishwasher.

It was easy to get distracted, partly because not a huge amount seemed to happen in that first 30 minutes, but it cleverly built the suffocating relationships between Theresa, her sister Helen (Rachel Stirling) and their assorted spouses and friends, while laying the seeds which you hope will grow into paranoid horror as Theresa begins to wonder if her children had something to do with the disappearance of another local kid.

Meanwhile, Jonas Armstrong popped up as another of his unshaven, potentially untrustworthy characters for one of the main characters to have a dalliance with, but he’s always a red herring, so we can probably discount him.

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Rachel Stirling and Anna Maxwell Martin starred in ITV’s Hollington Drive. Picture: ITV/WEST ROAD PICTURES

Maxwell Martin, as we know from Motherland, can do fraught woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown in her sleep, but this one is a more buttoned-down, controlled performance, and suited Hollington Drive’s slow-burn tension perfectly.

You suspect that the pitch of the drama will ramp up over the series, but this first episode had to be heavy on the scene-setting, before secrets began to spill out.

And much like Keir Starmer, Theresa will find that with friends like hers, who needs enemies?

Halloween is approaching, and if you want to get in the mood for it, look a little way down the EPG and have a go at Evil (Alibi, Mon, 9pm). On the face of it a mainstream US crime show, it has a weird, dark edge.

Anna Maxwell Martin as Theresa with Rhashan Stone as her on-screen husband Fraser in Hollington Drive. Picture: ITV/WEST ROAD PICTURES

Lovely kitchens have been on show in Jamie Oliver: Together (Channel 4, Mon 8pm), in which the pastel-clad chef invites pals round for dinner while I bung oven chips on a plate for the kids. Irritating.