reviews and recommendations

Anna Paquin stars in Flack

For lovers of Fleabag, Derry Girls, Catastrophe and Girls, new classy and witty dark comedy drama starring Oscar winner Anna Paquin (The Piano, True Blood, X Men) is well worth watching.

Set in the cut-throat, high-stakes world of public relations Robyn (Paquin), plays a sharp talking American working in London as an expert flack (PR guru), troubleshooting problems in her celebrity clients’ personal lives while floundering in her own.  The first of six hour-long episodes, artfully establishes four compelling, complex and funny female characters with Caroline the formidable Head of Agency played by Sophie Okenodo as you’ve never seen her before, Lydia Wilson (Requiem, Ripper Street) as Robyn’s morally bankrupt and acid-tongued colleague Eve and Rebecca Benson (The White Princess, Game Of Thrones) as super-keen office intern Melody – seemingly innocent and naïve, a people pleaser with underlying Scottish steel.

It’s a premise that’s not new. At its extremes it contains elements of The Devil Wears Prada, Absolutely Fabulous and Sex In the City but with the recent developments and challenges of the Me Too Movement and social media it has a lot to say about our modern digital age. With a glossy PR backdrop and high profile personalities from entertainment, fashion and sport, it explores the savage reality where problems can go viral in an instant and the next scandal is just around the corner. Dealing one story to prevent a worse one coming to light is the name of the game and it’s the hacks versus the flacks who have the power to firefight and fix.

Created and tightly scripted by Oliver Lansley (Alan Davies’ Whites), with contributions from several female writers, the first episode sets up ‘dramedy’ storylines including a tv chef played by Max Beesley in trouble with his wife who will forgive him only if she gets a book deal and a slot on Strictly and Eve ordering Melody the intern to set up dates for her on tinder – “if they suggest a restaurant with wine under £30 they’re a no..”

The characters are based on all the strong women Lansley has known with high praise from Executive Producer and lead, Paquin…

Oliver Lansley has written six of the best scripts I’ve ever read. He walks that fine line between intense character-driven drama and exceptionally intelligent humour. My character, Robyn, exists in a world where there are no moral absolutes and humour is used as a sharply executed defence mechanism to maintain the illusion of perpetual control…”

Flack airs on Thursday 21st February on W Channel UKTV