The Cry grips by taking two steps back and one step forward

Jenna Coleman stars in BBC1's gripping new drama The Cry
Jenna Coleman stars in BBC1's gripping new drama The Cry
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Like a passenger trapped on a long-haul flight with a crying baby, I heard about The Cry (BBC1, Sundays, 9pm) before I saw it.

It flits about all over the place, I heard, I can’t keep up with it, I don’t know what’s now and what’s then and what’s what.

Well, I don’t know what programme they were watching, but The Cry was well worth investing in.

Jenna Coleman plays Joanna, a mum struggling with a new baby, and fiance – Alastair – who was neither use nor ornament when looking after a child.

Alastair, obviously for someone who is clearly a grade A bounder, first got together with Joanna while still married to Alexandra, and with daughter Chloe still coming to terms with being dislocated from Australia to rain-sodden Edinburgh.

After discovering the affair, Alexandra does a midnight flit, taking Chloe back to Oz.

And even though he and Joanna are now a couple, complete with baby Noah, Alastair decides to take them Down Under in an effort to gain custody of Chloe. And there, the mystery at the centre of the drama begins.

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Yes, The Cry played with timeframes, and settings, but it revealed its clues with care, never letting you get a handle on Joanna and her state of mind, fractured by post-natal depression. Not to say Alastair noticed.

Did I mention Alastair was an absolute pillock?

It was utterly involving, and you’re still not quite clear what Joanna is on trial for.

You suspect that Alastair can’t possibly be as self-involved as he seems, or that Alexandra is as neurotic.

It’s more subtle than Bodyguard, which it replaced on Sunday nights, but I think – like a good night’s kip when your baby finally sleeps through the night, it will be much more satisfying.

More weapons-grade idiots were on show in the new series of The Apprentice (BBC1, Wednesdays, 9pm). As usual, a beauty contest which demeans everyone involved, it’s still stupidly enjoyable.

In Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls (Channel 4, Sundays, 9pm) the starving celebrity islanders gave a dead pig a Viking funeral instead of eating it. I sometimes despair of people, I really do.