Musicians rarely seem to make a successful or even dignified transition to acting, but that hasn’t deterred Will Young. Despite being better known for his music, the star makes his major TV debut on Sky Living this week. Casting him as one of Bedlam’s lead roles was a risk to the show's credibility, especially as it’s the first British drama to be commissioned by the channel, but it’s a risk that appears to have paid off.
At no point in the show’s premiere (airing on Tuesday, February 7 at 10pm) were we unconvinced by Young’s portrayal of Ryan McAllister, a computer nerd who lives in a haunted apartment. His performance--pivotal to this episode--stands strong alongside his more established co-stars.
Theo James (A Passionate Women) plays arguably the most vital role: his character, Jed Harper, is the only one that can communicate with ghosts. Essentially, he's Jennifer Love Hewitt's character from Ghost Whisperer, but without the water works and flimsy dresses. This is no coincidence: the channel admits it wanted to launch a UK show that was similar to its supernatural US acquisitions, of which Ghost Whisperer is one.
Like its American counterparts, each episode of Bedlam has its own “story of the week”. In the first episode it’s of a ghost who tries to drown Jed and Ryan’s flatmates Kate (Charlotte Salt) and Molly (Ashley Madekwe). There are also heavy hints of a dark series arc, which involves Kate’s dad Warren (played by Hugo Speer) who has history with the apartment block.
While Bedlam shows a lot of promise--certainly far more than we originally gave it credit for--it does also have its problems. Our main gripe is with the face-painted ghouls, thrust on our screens by cheap camera tricks. Oh, and the fact that they can communicate by text. If Sky Living want their new show to be taken seriously, we suggest they make their effects as believable as Will Young’s acting.