TV Review: Best Interests 

Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen are heartbreakingly intense in the moral maze of Best Interests 

“They want to swtich off her machines and we want to keep them on”

Much like James Graham, Jack Thorne can feel a little ubiquitous but the thing is, the pair of them do have a tendency to keep delivering the goods. Airing last summer, Best Interests is a four-part drama that tackles the thorny subject of when parents and hospitals disagree on the withdrawal of care from a patient.

Nicci and Andrew are parents to Marnie and Katie – the latter a slightly moody older teenager, the former a younger, smilier teenager dealing with a rare form of muscular dystrophy. When a medical episode leaves her comatose and brain damaged, doctors gently but insistently suggest it is time to withdraw treatment and Marnie’s family implodes under the stress of fighting that decision.

It is beautifully conceived and achingly sad in its every meticulously observed detail about how the impact of life-limiting conditions radiate far and wide. The parents at odds with each other, the overlooked sibling resigned to her situation, the doctor made into the enemy despite years of care, all viewpoints given room to breathe even as we realise the impossibility of them co-existing.

Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen are superb as those parents, their every interaction shaped by Marnie, the edges getting increasingly sharper as their estrangement grows. Niamh Moriarty impresses as Marnie, as does Alison Oliver as Katie, impossibly worldly-wise for one so young. Noma Dumezweni’s doctor, Lisa McGrillis’ shady Christian legal rep and Lucian Msamati’s lawyer stand out in a stacked supporting cast.

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