By Catriona Campbell, Arts Editor (@ABlueEyedCat)
There was a large outcry when it was announced in March 2014 that BBC Three was to be moving to an online-only platform. Over the previous decade it had birthed some of the modern day classics of British television and often served as a method for emerging talent to flourish. The BBC stated the move online would not ever compromise that and with the bold Thirteen last year it seemed this was true. The is further confirmed by the currently (at the time of writing) airing Scottish drama Clique.
Set in Edinburgh University, the show follows first year Economics Student Holly as she, and her best friend Georgia, find themselves getting wrapped up in an initiative offered by her professor. As the show progresses, it becomes clearer that she may be in over her head and what unravels is a taut tense thriller. I feel a sign of a good show is when the episode flies by and the viewer is shocked that they’ve been watching it that long and with Clique I had that almost every episode. The show itself follows a standard chronological structure however it is interspersed with flashbacks into the character of Holly, these flashbacks prove crucial to the point as they help the viewer to understand Holly’s motivations throughout the story, as well as build upon the friendship of her and Georgia. The show does seem a little slow at first, the show does expect the audience to wait a little for the reveals but when they do come, they feel genuine and the pay-off worth it.
Another strength that the show can boast is that of its performances. As is the growing trend in television at the moment, all characters lie firmly within shades of grey with many being difficult to read as to their exact motivations, further heightening the mysteries. A special shout-out must go to newcomer Synnove Karsen, as she proves herself a force to be reckoned with as never at any moment did I feel unconvinced or detached from her performance. Her intense performance masterfully conveys a girl on the edge and is definitely a star on the rise.
One brief final reason that I must earmark this as one to watch is the setting of the drama. The fact that it’s a university based drama instantly adds a hefty amount of relatability to students (especially considering there’s a dearth of television shows set against a higher education background) but it’s also brilliant to see Edinburgh on screen. Scotland has a wide array of talent and it’s encouraging to see it represented on the screen in a mainstream television show. The cinematography highlights what a good-looking city Edinburgh can be with some beautifully lit shots.
As we’re now living in the internet age of catch-up TV I can partially understand the incentive to make BBC Three online only, however when a show as strong as this comes along it feels it should be far more easily accessible to a wider audience as it can become easily overlooked and that is why I felt I had to write this review and why I implore you to do one thing. If you like sleek, intriguing dramas then give this a watch, I can almost guarantee you as the credits roll on the first door you’ll be clicking on the Next Episode button before you know it (once you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor that is).
Clique is currently available to stream now on BBC iPlayer.