If walls of a house could talk, what would they say? In the case of the classy upcoming BBC Two drama White Heat, this question is not rhetorical.
Through flashbacks spread over the course of six episodes, ranging from 1965 to the present day, we are told the story of seven widely different characters played by a variety of well performing actors including Claire Foy, who are brought together as flat mates by their attending a London university.
We learn how the older enigmas whom we meet in the modern day, where the show is officially moored, came to be who they are. The story starts when they are pulled back together by the will of an unrevealed recently deceased member of the group. And so the walls begin to tell their tales.
Mostly from the point of view of Claire Foy’s Charlotte, we begin to witness the seven students exploring and experiencing their first taste of real independence. Some handle it better than others. Some freedom comes naturally whilst other characters battle to free themselves from the shadows of powerful parents and their pre-university lives.
Unsurprisingly, the main thrust of the scenes revolve around a majority of the characters exploring their new sexual freedom. Charlotte drives the story as she begins to experience sex for the first time. But it’s not just her. A majority of other characters head down the sexual liberation and exploration path. What is usually a one dimensional method of character storytelling is handled well. It’s important to remember that the story is set in a time (1965) when teenagers would not have had the chance to experience what teenagers in this age will have long been experiencing. For this reason, the way the characters react to each other is extensively believable. It wasn’t an age in which young people were given the freedom we experience now.
Throughout the series there will be a lot of revelations about what happened to the characters over the three or so decades the plot spans. Each episode will play against the backdrop of a famous historical event. For example, the opening episode features the death of Churchill. These events will shape the characters’ lives and view of the world.
Ultimately, this is a very decent and enjoyable drama. It should have no problem in attracting viewers back each week as it is intriguing and the characters are rich and associable. It is a drama that will really appeal to people who grew up in the same times the series is set in. For viewers who experienced the same search and discovery for freedom in the sixties and seventies, White Heat could strike a few chords.