Channel 4 is on a roll in terms of drama of late. Fresh from the satisfyingly good Dates and Run, last night saw the first episode of The Mill, a four part series written by John Fay set during the 1830s and based on real accounts about Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire.
Somewhat ridiculously, reviews in the snoozepapers today have bemoaned that The Mill was 'too grim' It was, I'm sorry to break it to the namby critics, real life. Life was grim and hard! The Mill doesn't shy away from that at all and it should be applauded for doing so. In the current climate of young adults crying about infringements to their human rights (innit) if so much as a teacher gives them detention, it's vital that we show what real suffering their 1800s counterparts had to endure, and hopefully they'll realise that they have it easy nowadays and that indeed, their damn lucky they've got school to go too.
I also don't feel the accusation the press made was correct either as towards the end of this opening episode I had a grin as broad as the Cheshire Cat's watching Esther get one over the overlookers and mill owners. Perhaps these professional tele reviewers expect all historical period drama on a Sunday night to be Downton Abbey. I'm certainly glad they're not, as the recent BBC1 drama The Village proved, there's room for realism on TV.
The Mill continues next Sunday at 8pm and is well worth catching, if you missed it, on 40D. Also next week immediately after The Mill is Southcliffe another star studded drama on 4. They're really spoiling us.