TV Review: U Be Dead (2009)

“We’ve been getting phone calls, text messages, emails…can’t trace where or who from”

Another drama about online shenanigans, as should be evident from the titular ‘U’, U Be Dead is an ITV television movie from 2009 and written by Gwyneth Hughes. Jan and Debra are in the midst of preparing for a lavish wedding but when they start to receive threatening messages and anonymous phone calls as part of a systematic campaign of harassment, their lives are thrown into complete turmoil. 

It’s all a bit schlocky to be completely honest (but then it is ITV) though there are some strong performances that shine through. Tara Fitzgerald unravels spectacularly as Debra, the target of the most vitriolic aspects of the stalking and clearly far too good for David Morrissey’s rather taciturn psychiatrist/speedboat racer, whose head is easily turned by pert new arrival Bethan played by Lucy Griffith, even in the midst of the crisis.

And with the arrival of the stalker onscreen halfway through, Monica Dolan is chillingly superb as the horrifyingly deranged Maria whose ability to game the system to her advantage has a compelling ring of truth about it. Director Jamie Payne finds these unsettling moments and frames them well in the London and Poole locations but he is often hamstrung by the leaps and bounds that the plotting takes as it skips quickly through months of persecution or races through the lengthy court proceedings.

It ain’t a bad piece of television, with Fitzgerald and Dolan in it how could it be, but it’s one to have one whilst you eat your tea rather than something to devote your whole attention to.

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