US TV gave us 24 and now BBC TV returns the favour with Five Days (transmission date to be confirmed). This gripping, multi-stranded thriller, by Gwyneth Hughes, tracks five 24-hour periods following the abduction of an attractive young mother.
Leanne (Christine Tremarco) is taking her two young children to visit her grandfather (Edward Woodward). She stops to buy flowers at a lay-by but then disappears, leaving her two children waiting in the car, lost and far from home.
They set off to find her – only to go missing themselves.
Their ordeal is captured on CCTV cameras and, before long, the family's heart-stopping trauma is a being investigated by the police and has become a major news story.
The action unfolds on days one, three, 28, 33 and 79.
As each episode unravels, it becomes clear that nobody is quite what they seem. Not Leanne's grieving husband, Matthew (David Oyelowo), who finds himself under suspicion. Not the laconic detective, Barclay (Hugh Bonneville), or his cynical sergeant, Foster (Janet McTeer); not Leanne's parents, Barbara (Penelope Wilton) and John (Patrick Malahide); and not Sarah (Sarah Smart), a stranger who's drawn into both the investigation and the family.
"It's almost Dickensian in the complexities of relationships and the way the characters overlap and the stories interweave," reveals star Hugh Bonneville. "No-one's going to be spoon-fed. There are often huge time jumps between episodes - sometimes it's a couple of days and sometimes it's weeks - so you have to keep up with it."
Five Days is a BBC drama production, in association with HBO, and is produced by Paul Rutman (The Virgin Queen).