Red Riding - Thursday's Top TV
Channel 4, 9pm
Judging by this horrible and utterly compulsive film, the first in a trilogy based on David Peaces Red Riding quartet, Yorkshire in the early 1970s was a bad, bad place to be. When three small girls between the ages of eight and 10 disappear, a reporter (Andrew Garfield) believes all three are linked. As he investigates the disappearances, he uncovers a web of corruption extending from local government to the West Yorkshire police, all of it revolving around a Mister Big of the North (Sean Bean).
In the process, he grows up from being a boy full of glib cynicism into someone with a clear sense of right and wrong. It is a hard-won maturity, hammered into him by the appalling brutality of the police and a growing awareness of the extent of the corruption. This is the north, says a policeman, We do what we want. It is a horrible saga, acted with hideous conviction by a stellar cast.