Review: Burn Up is a Brilliant New Drama

July 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Rupert Penry Jones- Burn UpIt’s been a while since we’ve seen a truly good Brit drama, let’s be honest. Bonekickers was pitifully wooden with a plot so lacking in tension it made your granddad’s date night look like a scene from an Oliver Stone movie.

So when I sat down to watch the Beebs new drama Burn Up I wasn’t expecting much.

But boy oh boy, do you have a treat in store. This is an audacious, bold drama with a truly current conflict at its core. It is also riddled with a tension that means you are hooked within seconds.

Tom McConnell (Rupert Penry Jones- Spooks) is young and smart. He’s a family man with the cocky ambition of someone midway through conquering the world. Having just been appointed as Chairman of Arrow Oil he is not far off that dream.

However the moral waters quickly become murky as Arrow Oil become the focus of environmental protestors and political power plays. Ethics and friendship unravel as Tom is drawn into the battle between global warming and greed.

There are some hard truths in this drama and it manages to balance the political, moral and environmental dilemmas with disarming ease. Through the eyes of the powerful and the powerless, it leads us into the heart of a high stake conflict and Simon Beaufoy, famous for penning The Full Monty, does not shirk from either side of the argument.

In one scene, Tom is with his best friend and Oil goon Mack (Bradely Whitford- The West Wing) when they bump into Phillip (Marc Warren- The Hustle), an aide to Britain’s Prime Minister. As they fall into talking about Iraq Philip says: “ Beats me why you didn’t just plant some weapons of mass destruction? Mack jokes “If I told you we did and we can’t find em, would you believe me?? Phillip considers a moment then responds: “Yeah. That is horrifically plausible?.

That, at heart is what makes this such a deeply impressive drama. It is one of the few that truly looks face to face with the monster that is global warming in all its complex implications and the story it tells is, in the words of Phillip, horrifically plausible.

So, my review? Burn Up is brilliant and unmissable. Tune your TV, turn off your phone and make sure you watch it Wednesday 23rd at 9pm on BBC2.

By McGee Noble