June 15, 2024

Renegade Nell Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

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Renegade Nell Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

God knows, after the final triumphant, harrowing series of Happy Valley last year Sally Wainwright has earned the right to kick back and relax a bit. Renegade Nell is the result. Seemingly designed for a younger audience than her usual fare, this is a fun, slightly odd, definitely slighter piece of work that channels the spirit of perhaps her second most famous work, Gentleman Jack (or does that tie with Last Tango in Halifax? Or Scott & Bailey? Heavens, she has earned more of a rest than I realised) and adds a supernatural twist to it.

This time we are in the 18th century and, unusually, down south. Our heroine is Nell Jackson – Louisa Harland, who made her name as the glaikit Orla in Derry Girls and could not be more brilliant here in a wholly different part. She returns to her native village of Tottenham five years after she was thought to have been killed with her soldier husband on the battlefield to find her family and friends at first perturbed, then happy to see her back.

Not only is she alive but, when under pressure or in fear for her life, she is vouchsafed – courtesy of a little firefly/Harry Potter Golden Snitch-type thing that zooms into her ear or mouth at the crucial moment – superhuman abilities. Every episode contains two or three set pieces in which she gets to dodge bullets, throw villains into trees and generally gain the upper hand over those who seek to hurt her or her family.

Unfortunately, one of these villains is the village landlord’s son Thomas Blancheford (Jake Dunn). Already quite a naturally vengeful soul, he is also under the influence of the – possibly literally – devilish Robert Hennessey, Earl of Poynton (Adrian Lester) and as a result, Nell and her sisters are soon orphaned, homeless and on the run. Nell has been framed for murder, too, and must disguise herself as a highwayman in order to support her family and Rasselas (Enyi Okoronkwo), Blancheford’s former groom, who risked his life to help them escape. She becomes dazzlingly successful in her new career, as the reward for her discovery rises by the day, aided by her aristocratic counterpart Charles Devereux (Frank Dillane), self-described “toff, bon viveur, total waste of space!”

The firefly/Golden Snitch thing turns out to be more of a Tinker Bell thing when it transforms into a sprite called Billy Blind (Ted Lasso’s Nick Mohammed) to remonstrate with her for using her powers to beat people up rather than save her skin. But in time he will also suggest that he has been bonded to her because she is destined for great things.

Renegade Nell is, clearly, a romp and not meant to be taken terribly seriously. If there is any feminist message in Nell becoming a glorified figure in the traditionally male-dominated field of highway robbery, it is worn very lightly indeed. Cape-swirling, moustache-twirling dastardliness abounds. A bitter, furious sister to Thomas – Sofia (Alice Kremelberg) – is threatening to go off like a rocket in the background. And Harland really is magnificent – an effortless presence, with fabulous swagger and a wholehearted commitment to the part that is just what such a cynicism-free caper needs.

All that said – it only works by the finest of margins. The pell-mell plot and the energy all the actors bring to their parts only just hold the disparate pieces together. Maybe a young audience will neither notice nor care how oddly the elements bump up against each other. Then again, have you met a young audience lately? They are terrifying in their sophistication. Anyone making a stand in front of them really needs to deliver.

Renegade Nell Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online