Starting life as a short film before being turned into a full-length feature, director and co-writer Philip Barantini’s Boiling Point has now made its way onto the BBC as a four-part miniseries under the same name. However, the original isn’t essential viewing for audiences to understand what’s going on.
Set a few months after the events of the chaotic kitchen thriller, which saw the reputation of acclaimed chef Andy Jones (a marvellous Stephen Graham) collapse during a single shift from hell, the show sees Carly (Vinette Robinson) running her own upmarket restaurant alongside some familiar faces from the award-winning film. Though Andy has been removed from the workplace, the kitchen is just as hectic as before. Carried with powerhouse performances and a pitch-perfect script, this series is simply incredible.
Although the one-shot presentation of the film has been left behind for the series (aside from the opening 11-minute sequence that introduces viewers to the chic North Point restaurant), Barantini and co-creator James Cummings nevertheless succeed in throwing viewers straight into the centre of the high-pressure atmosphere.
It begins with newcomer Johnny (Stephen Odubola) arriving for his first shift in a job that he’s severely unprepared for. From here, the nail-biting tension builds with flared tempers, nightmarish customers and problem food deliveries. Expertly crafted pacing sees each issue escalate until it boils over, inevitably causing another issue for the staff to deal with. And when the dust from confrontations finally settles, the fallout leaves an even bigger toll. Nowhere does this hit harder than the climax of the second episode, which is one of the more shocking and heartbreaking television scenes in recent years.
None of the script would be as impactful if it weren’t for the consistently outstanding performances from the entire cast. Even though his screentime is limited, Graham is still as phenomenal as before as his character wrestles with the ghosts left lingering from the events of the film. Robinson, too, is sensational in her reprisal, with Shaun Fagan’s loud-mouth Boulton being a notable new addition to the cast.
From the opening scene, viewers will be unable to look away from the unfolding chaos as Boiling Point gradually turns up the heat throughout each episode. It is, without exaggeration, an astoundingly good piece of television.
Boiling Point is released on BBC iPlayer on 1st October 2023.
Watch the trailer for Boiling Point here: