WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE?: BAFTA, London
WHEN?: 5/9, airs BBC1 9.15pm from 15/9/18
In less than a fortnight we will know whether this show has won the 2 Emmys it is shortlisted for: Outstanding Actress (Sandra Oh, who you may recognise from Grey’s Anatomy) and Outstanding Writing for the UK’s own Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
- Read on for reasons including why there is humour here which will be much loved by Fleabag fans
Readers of monstagigz will be familiar with Waller-Bridge who won our 2016 monsta for Best TV/Film Actress for comedy drama Fleabag, which she wrote, and so we’re more than excited to be at BAFTA’s London HQ to watch the 1st 2 episodes of Killing Eve (which she adapted) and quiz its creative team.
Killing Eve is based on the Codename Villanelle novella series written by Luke Jennings and is the story of titular MI5 worker Eve (played by Oh) who is frustrated at work when her boss doesn’t take her theory seriously about a female assassin blazing a trail across Europe.
There’s a dizzying array of European locations and languages plus a movie-like attention to detail to a memorable soundtrack. Kim Bodnia from The Bridge also stars.
Waller-Bridge explains what drew her to the material: ‘The idea that these 2 women become obsessed with each other is exciting and new. It’s nuanced and a really different kind of passion.’
Our favourite character is Carolyn Martens played by Fiona Shaw who is head of MI6’s Russia section and gets to deliver the funniest lines in the most withering fashion.
She wasn’t surprised the show was such a success in the US when it was aired in April: ‘Phoebe’s utterly unique. She’s like something from the 18th century even though she doesn’t remember it and knows nothing about it. She’s put language back into text.
‘The women aren’t resolved by their domestic forces. They’re either killing people or trying to stop people killing people. They’re also not necessarily good or necessarily bad.’
There’s running joke throughout the series that the characters played by Shaw and Oh don’t understand each other’s humour.
Oh is seen as the character the audience is most likely to empathise with, we see her home life and how she throws herself into her work. Oh describes it as an ‘existential crisis’. We’ve reviewed David Haig on this site and here he plays an unsympathetic boss who we first meet hungover after his birthday celebration went karaoke.
It is this attention to the every day that so singles out Waller-Bridge as a writer. Asked about Villanelle’s enthusiasm for food, Waller-Bridge explains: ‘I didn’t think girls should be seen to eat, I just thought they do eat. Seeing someone eat an ice cream after doing a job really well is totally relatable.’
Comer, who arrives late after a dash from the series 2 set, describes her assassin as someone who ‘devours life’, in more senses than 1. ‘There’s a mutual fascination between Villanelle and Eve. When Villanelle realises there is another woman trying to find her, her ego goes through the roof. But then she thinks the thing she is missing can be found in Eve – and vice versa.’
We’re not big fans of violence but there’s a sense of humour running through the show which is a Waller-Bridge trademark and she refers more than once during this Q&A to her ‘naughty hand’, persuading her to break the rules and do the things the audience least expects.
There’s 1 of those moments (that you definitely think won’t happen but definitely does) towards the end of that brilliant 1st episode.
Shaw captures it best: ‘I think she’s from a generation that hasn’t quite grown up or got over her childhood.’
Executive producer Sally Woodward-Gentle adds: ‘Phoebe can produce these real emotional punches – and then still have a sausage gag at the end.’