wed 20/02/2019

Lightfields, ITV | reviews, news & interviews

Lightfields, ITV

Lightfields, ITV

Spooky cross-generational drama keeps its cards close to its chest

It's a house but is it a home? Generations of characters gather at creepy Suffolk farmhouse

The generational time-bomb is a popular dramatic device - ITV were at it only  a couple of months ago with The Poison Tree - and new five-parter Lightfields boldly sprawls itself across three separate eras (1944, 1975 and 2012). Binding it all together is the titular location, a farmhouse in Suffolk, through which the different generations of characters pass.

The rapid cutting between three separate periods featuring three different casts was hardly a guarantee of intelligibility, though you could more or less gather the gist of it as it whirled along. During the wartime period, 17-year-old Lucy Felwood (Antonia Clarke) falls under the competitive spell of Eve (played by the exotically-named Dakota Blue Richards), who's two years older and arrives in rural Suffolk to stay with her aunt, bringing with her a superior veneer of London-bred sophistication (Lucy and Eve pictured below).

Eve is soon nipping down to dances in the village to get chatted up by American airmen, in particular Kansas's own Dwight Lawson (Neil Jackson). However, Lucy proves a little more competitive than she'd like, and swiftly dumps bashful local lad Harry (Luke Newberry) in favour of taking long walks in the woods with smooth-talking Dwight. A pouting Eve warns her that Dwight will "ruin" her, and there's a lurking sense that Lucy is getting sucked into something ominous and mysterious.

There's a supernatural dimension to all this, as we learn when the action rockets forward into the Seventies. Vivien Mullen (Lucy Cohu) comes to stay at a by now somewhat derelict Lightfields with daughter Clare (Karla Crome), taking time out to de-stress from her marital problems and have a bash at writing that difficult first novel. However, her wordsmithery keeps being interrupted by the voice of a young girl counting out numbers, not to mention some strange noises and a light shining eerily under the door of a disused bedroom. Vivien, we learn, had been at Lightfields three decades earlier, though her memory of it seems blank even when she's recognised by Tom, a workman whose younger self was a member of the local Home Guard in 1944.

A few more bits of the jigsaw were leaked out by writer Simon Tyrrell in the 2012 sequences, in which Lightfields has been modernised and converted into a rental property by the latest generation of Felwoods, Barry (Danny Webb) and his wife Lorna (Sophie Thompson). Barry's dad Pip (a spectacularly wrinkly Michael Byrne) seems to be a critical part of the puzzle, having appeared in a pre-credits flashback sequence in which he moped mournfully over an old photograph of Lucy.

Tyrrell has successfully conjured an air of threat and foreboding, without offering enough (so far) upon which to base any solid conclusions. I shall therefore say only that I'm just about intrigued enough to come back next week, and it's nice to see that somebody's given Kris Marshall a proper acting job and not just another BT commercial. Mind you, they've only allowed him to be an estate agent, so perhaps he's still on thespian probation.

Writer Simon Tyrrell has successfully conjured an air of threat and foreboding, without offering enough upon which to base any solid conclusions

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters