CHRISTOPHER STEEVENS: The weekend’s TV review: An anonymous viewer brings light to the dark tale of Hillsborough parent’s grief



The Tourist


A single act of kindness, like a thin light shining through a dark sky, helped to brighten Anne’s drama in Hillsborough (ITV).

Anne and Steve Williams (Maxine Peake, Stephen Walters), drove from Liverpool across the Pennines in the early hours of an April night 1989 and found themselves in a stranded state.

After the FA Cup stadium collapse in which 97 football fans died, the couple were desperate for information about their son Kevin (15 years old). They didn’t stop to refill the car. The car was empty of petrol. They had to travel miles just to get it.

Petty things are often what push people to the limit in times of greatest need. It is at this time that strangers’ kindness is priceless.

Maxine Peake was transformed into the late Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams

Maxine Peake, the Hillsborough campaigner of the past Anne Williams was made into Maxine Peake

Steve hiked all the way to the farm. He spoke the words to describe their circumstances to the farmer, but we didn’t have to listen. On a dark morning, all we could see was a man willing to help.

A jerrycan full of siphoned fuel got the couple back on the road. ‘It’s the least I can do,’ he said.

This episode, which aired every evening from Wednesday to Thursday, was the first of four episodes of the drama. It gave us hope. It is an incredibly sad, horrifying tale that has not changed over the last 30 years.

As the straightforward title tells us, Peake’s character is the whole focus of the script. The wild grief she portrays is that of a mother. It builds from her hysterical disbelief and denial to an overwhelming anger towards the authorities for allowing this tragedy happen, and lying about it later.

It is well worth sticking with the Williams brothers’ darkly comic thriller The Tourist, shown on BBC

It is well worth sticking with the Williams brothers’ darkly comic thriller The Tourist, shown on BBC

Jamie Dornan plays a lone traveller across the red desert Down Under, who wakes up in hospital in a remote town called Burnt Ridge after his car is pursued and rammed by a whistling cowboy in a juggernaut

Jamie Dornan is the lone traveler in the red desert Down Under. He wakes up at Burnt Ridge hospital after being pursued by a cowboy dressed in a Juggernaut and his car is driven offroad.

It was shocking to see the lack of compassion she received from all officials, including the officers on the spot and the coroner at his court.

Most difficult of all to watch was the scene in which Anne and Steve were taken into the back room of a local government office and invited to pick out their dead son’s face from an array of photographs of corpses pinned to a cork board.

Solution for the weekend 

Sister Hilda (Fenella woolgar), in Call The Midwife, (BBC1) gasped for a ciggie. 

‘Ah, that delicious taste when you drag the smoke down the throat!’ she sighed. 

Willpower, Sister! Instead, try a boiled sweet.

The couple didn’t know that he was gone until then. A mere few moments earlier, an inept admin assistant informed them that their son was at the hospital. . . Before deciding to use the same name, you must have a different person.

This is a scathing indictment against British bureaucracy. It’s sometimes painful, but it’s always powerful TV. If some viewers felt they could not stick with it, on a New Year’s weekend when we are all looking for a little hope, that is understandable.

It is well worth sticking with the Williams brothers’ darkly comic thriller The Tourist (BBC1), even when the twists are more improbable than a traffic jam in the Australian outback. Jamie Dornan portrays a lonely traveller in the Red Desert Down Under who is rushed to Burnt Ridge by a whistling cowboy riding in a Juggernaut.

Shortly before the bombing, he makes a new friend in diner Shalom Brune Franklin. Although she is his ex-girlfriend and he doesn’t recognise her, he can tell that she has been lost of his memories.

They set off together to rescue an unconscious man after receiving an SOS telephone call from a mobile hidden in a stuffed Koala.

Olafur Darri Olafsson is a brilliant villain with an accent that’s part Texan and part Icelandic like a Viking John Wayne.

There are many quotable lines in the dialogue. This will appeal to Fargo-lovers (and I’m one of them).

The traffic jam that I mentioned was due to a pair mating turtles. Is it possible? It’s as possible as everything else.