Entertainment & Arts

National Treasure: Yewtree-inspired drama praised by critics

Robbie Coltrane in National Treasure Image copyright Channel 4
Image caption Coltrane plays Paul Finchley, a veteran comic accused of a historical sex crime

Channel 4's new drama about a celebrity accused of historical sex crimes has received glowing reviews, with one critic calling it "utterly compelling".

National Treasure, writes Jasper Rees in the Telegraph, "feels like a hefty landmark drama" that is "audacious, disturbing but above all elusive".

The Guardian's critic concurs, calling it "thoughtful, bold and accomplished".

Robbie Coltrane plays Paul Finchley, an ageing comic accused of raping a woman in the 1990s.

The role, writes Kevin Courtney in The Irish Times, is the former Cracker star's "most daring and challenging in 20 years".

The drama draws on recent revelations involving well-known personalities, among them Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris and Stuart Hall.

According to The Guardian's Sam Woolaston, "a dark, Yewtree-shaped shadow hangs over" the programme - a reference to Operation Yewtree, the police investigation launched after Savile's death in 2011.

Image copyright Channel 4
Image caption The actor previously played psychologist Eddie 'Fitz' Fitzgerald in ITV's Cracker

Written by Jack Thorne, who co-wrote Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the drama also stars Julie Walters as Finchley's wife and Andrea Riseborough as his daughter.

The former, writes Digital Spy's Morgan Jeffery, gives a "captivating" performance and is "every bit Coltrane's match".

The result, says Brian Donaldson of Scotland's The List, was "wonderfully tense and atmospheric".

An average of three million people tuned in on Tuesday to see the first instalment of the four-part series, according to overnight figures.

The second part will be aired on Channel 4 on 27 September at 21:00 BST.

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