The Following Events Are Based on a Pack of Lies
At first glance, Ginny and Penelope Skinner’s The Following Events Are Based on a Pack of Lies sounds like any other BBC drama. After the first two episodes, though, it becomes evident that this show is far more than a run-of-the-mill crime drama. There’s a wondrously wicked personality running through the script, which gives a macabre playfulness to what’s shaping up to be an edge-of-your-seat cat-and-mouse thriller.
The plot sees Alice (Rebekah Staton), an unassuming PA, suspect that her con artist husband has reemerged with a new identity after vanishing without a trace 15 years ago. He’s now Robert Chance (Alistair Petrie), a wildly successful ecopreneur and academic. However, when the police need proof of her story, she becomes determined to unveil his real identity. Meanwhile, Robert becomes enamoured with famous novelist Cheryl (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), however, it soon becomes clear that he has more sinister motives for charming her.
Opening with a monologue from Robert warning viewers that everything they’re about to see is based entirely on lies, before blasting Madona’s Material Girl, the first episode begins with the dial already turned up to ten. Throw in a selection of garish close-ups, a cacophony of dissonant, pizzicato strings, and supporting characters who give scenery-chewing performances, however, and the show can feel overbearing at times.
It’s not until the end of the first episode that these aesthetic choices come together, and the tone starts to click. A dry and deliciously dark sense of humour comes into play that’s reminiscent of Yorgos Lanthimos’s style of silly. And with hints that there’s still more than meets the eye about these characters, it will be near impossible to wait to see where the plot could go from here.
Leading the series is a collection of exquisite performances from the key players, with Petrie’s charming yet menacing presence stealing the show every time he appears on screen. Less successful, so far at least, is the series’ digs at pop culture, with some less-than-subtle references to Game of Thrones and The Handmaid’s Tale surfacing throughout the opening episodes. While there’s still time for these elements to develop, they currently sit as odd distractions from the main plot.
So far, The Following Events is a highly entertaining outing that stands apart from other BBC dramas.
The Following Events Are Based on a Pack of Lies is released BBC iPlayer on 29th August 2023.
Watch the trailer for The Following Events Are Based on a Pack of Lies here: