TV Review: Cobra, Series 1

Victoria Hamilton is smashingly good in the rather entertainingly silly first series of Sky drama Cobra

“We’ve had a plane crash on the A1 and we have a solar storm that could wipe out our power supply, I just don’t have time for this”

In such a crowded TV market, it can sometimes be difficult to even find out what TV shows are on, never mind remember to get round to watching them. I find that doubly so for original dramas on Sky, which is a shame as there’s often some decent stuff on there. One of those is Cobra, created and written by Ben Richards, who wrote a fair number of episodes of Spooks and you can sense that show’s DNA rippling through these six episodes here.

This first series of Cobra lies somewhere between disaster movie and political thriller and even if it can’t quite make its mind up, there’s something daftly enjoyable about it which is encapsulated in the quote above. Robert Carlyle leads as beleagured PM Robert Sutherland who has to deal with these huge crises, along with managing burgeoning insurrections from his fellow Tories and dealing with his daughter’s best friend dying from drugs she provided.

So it is largely far-fetched and all the better for this outrageousness, even if there are moments that chime with the clusterfuck that has been the last few years of our own governmental escapades. Tory attitudes towards the North, the pursuit of political ambition in the face of national crisis, top ranking officials having illicit and inappropriate liaisons, there’s a fair amount here that doesn’t stretch credulity levels at all.

Carlyle is decent enough as the rather bland Sutherland and it’s always great to see Lucy Cohu on screen, even if she’s underserved by her role as his lawyer wife Rachel. The star though is Victoria Hamilton’s no-nonsense Chief of Staff Anna, blazing all before her. And around them, a good ensemble are divertingly entertaining as heroic civil servants (Richard Dormer), scatty scientists (Pearce Quigley), hero cops (Steven Cree), villainous politicians (David Haig), villainous politicians’ aides (Sam Crane), and ambiguous spooks (Lisa Palfrey).

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