TV Review: No Return

Sheridan Smith’s takeover of our airwaves continues with ITV drama No Return, with great supporting work from Siân Brooke, Michael Jibson and David Mumeni

“You are no longer on holiday, this is hell”

Danny Brocklehurst’s (Brassic) newest show is No Return, which in one of those fickle turns of scheduling fate, means Sheridan Smith has now headlined three major dramas on three different terrestrial channels already in 2021. And given that this one is on ITV means that it is of the pleasingly trashy variety (in the best possible sense of the word).

Smith plays Kathy, living the dream on a long-awaited family trip to Turkey, whose holiday glow is seriously ruined when her teenage son Noah is accused of sexual assault and arrested. And as matters quickly snowball, the harsh reality of being enmeshed in a foreign legal system turns into an enduring nightmare for their extended family.

It is possibly meant a tad more seriously than I ended up taking it, incarceration is no laughing matter after all, but it all teeters on a rather delicious note of ridiculousness that makes it highly enjoyable. Philip Arditti is a riot as Turkish lawyer Rico who guides the disbelieving parents through the significantly different legal system there and it feels like his tongue is only just in cheek.

Smith takes a large swing (and swig) as the perma-sozzled Kathy, almost parodic in her devotion to her boy and for whom taking the months off work in order to stay in Turkey doesn’t appear to be a problem. There’s more of a nod for the difficulties for hubby Martin (a genial Michael Jibson) but even that ends up being wrapped in delightfully soapy nonsense.

To add to this, the main subplot features the marvellous Siân Brooke as Kathy’s sister Megan, who is having a Shirley Valentine moment due to her handsome husband’s (David Mumeni) fecklessness. It’s silly but highly entertaining and I am quite here for the Sheridan-Smith-a-thon.

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