Unveiling ITV's Latest Drama: All the Must-Knows about No Return
Imagine the perfect getaway to a foreign land, filled with sun, ocean waves, and sandy beaches. It sounds like the ideal vacation, doesn't it? But what if a sudden twist of fate were to transform this dream scenario into a living nightmare?
This is the exact predicament that Kathy (portrayed by Sheridan Smith) and Martin (played by Michael Jibson, known for his role in Four Lives) find themselves in when their teenage son Noah (brought to life by Louis Ashbourne Serkis, from The Kid Who Would Be King) is falsely accused of sexual assault while they are on holiday in Turkey.
Across four gripping episodes, Kathy and Martin are thrown into an unfamiliar legal system, faced with mounting legal expenses, and caught in the escalating media attention as they tirelessly fight to prove their son's innocence.
We had the opportunity to hear from the talented star Sheridan Smith, executive producer Nicola Shindler, and screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst regarding what awaits viewers in the upcoming ITV series.
An Uncommon Situation Faced by Ordinary Individuals
Danny Brocklehurst: Throughout my career, I have delved into this type of storytelling quite extensively, particularly with projects like Ordinary Lies, which Nicola and I collaborated on. The concept revolves around taking ordinary individuals and thrusting them into extraordinarily extreme circumstances, yet maintaining an element of familiarity within the storyline.
Every morning, I go on the school run with my youngest child, and I wanted to write about families like ours: ordinary people who simply want the best for their children. Families who save up and go on a yearly family vacation. I intentionally created this fictional family to closely resemble real people I know and recognize.
Nicola Shindler: The holiday aspect of the series also brings an element of fun. The characters behave differently and experience things differently because they are in a foreign country. There are moments of enjoyment, such as Michael's character pretending to be hot and fanning himself in the city, even though we were filming in a freezing cold studio in Bolton. It's these moments of pleasure before everything starts to unravel.
An Intense Journey of Drama
Sheridan Smith: Filming the scene where the police arrest Kathy and Martin's son was incredibly distressing. We were cramped in this small room with numerous background actors playing the role of police officers, holding prop guns. They burst into the room, forcefully push Kathy aside, and apprehend her son. It was truly a bewildering moment. Kathy doesn't speak the language, so she can't comprehend what is happening.
The fear and terror were genuinely palpable during that scene, and that was just acting. I can't even begin to imagine what it would feel like in real life. As a parent, it's your worst nightmare. The family is completely lost, and their lawyer offers advice on how to navigate the situation with the police. It's an incredibly harrowing experience for them.
Serkis' Impressive Portrayal of 16-Year-Old Noah
NS: We had the opportunity to audition numerous young men of that age, and it is particularly challenging to find the right ones. We want to avoid making them seem like they are acting in a stage school, but we also don't want them to appear emotionless.
Louis completely impressed us. Right from the first reading, he was absolutely extraordinary and portrayed the character with remarkable authenticity. Furthermore, when you are collaborating with someone like Sheridan, you can't have other actors around who seem like they are performing in a different manner. The performances need to be rooted and down-to-earth. Luckily, Louis and Sheridan clicked instantly.
Smith empathized strongly with her character
SS: I read the script and I was completely engrossed. It instantly provoked that feeling in my stomach of, "What would I do if I were in that situation?"
As Danny mentioned, it emphasizes regular individuals caught in an extraordinary circumstance. Kathy is an incredible protagonist, and I felt deeply honored when asked to play her. She is fiercely loyal, fiercely protective, and a character I could truly connect with.
It's not all darkness and despair
DB: This drama isn't purely grim and depressing. While it does have its tough moments, it doesn't feel like one of those relentless dramas. There are moments of lightness, moments of hope. It possesses a peculiar sense of romance.
NS: And that's precisely why it's crucial to have someone like Sheridan in that role. She can effortlessly combine humor and tragedy in a single sentence. Kathy is larger than life, bold, and funny, and Sheridan embraces that wholeheartedly.
SS: There's this fantastic scene in a restaurant where Kathy starts shouting at everyone. I distinctly remember filming that scene. It was absolutely hilarious. And right at the end, she exclaims, "More wine!"
When will ITV's No Return be televised?
No Return airs at 9pm on ITV HD (channel 103/113) on Monday 7th February.
In the event that you happen to miss any episode, fear not, as it will also be accessible in the Apps & Games section of the ITV Hub platform.
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