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Smoke Review 2018 TV-Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Review: I’m worried about my little boy. He’s obsessed with fire engines, and I think he might want to be a firefighter when he grows up. He is only two, so there’s a chance he’ll change his mind, I suppose. (I’m hoping that me whispering “footballer, footballer, premiership footballer, a hundred grand a week, Ferraris, girls, or boys if you like, that’s also fine, just as long as they’re clean …” in his ear while he sleeps will help him decide, subliminally.) But at the moment the firefighting still seems to be winning out.
So I may have to play (him) my trump card: this incredibly powerful – almost unwatchable – opening sequence of The Smoke (Sky 1). Now though? Nip it in the bud? Or wait till he’s a more suitable age (maybe three)?
To be honest, I’m finding it pretty damn traumatic myself. We’re going into a burning block, some of it from the point of view of fireman Kev (Jamie Bamber). It’s dark, smoky, confused, hellish. The noise is of burning, and crashing, and heavy, claustrophobic inhaling and exhaling through breathing apparatus. Here’s a younger colleague, Al (Shameless’s Gerard Kearns), having a panic attack. Kev calms him, sends him out to call in the ALP, goes further into the building himself, where things are exploding. Oh Christ there are people still inside, children, and a baby. On top of which Kev is attacked, can you believe it, by a hoodie with a dragon tat on his left butt cheek. Where’s that ALP? What is a bloody ALP anyway? Aerial ladder platform, is it? Well bloody get it!
It’s an extraordinary sequence. Seven minutes long! That’s practically real time. I swear you can feel the rising temperature, and the choking smoke, and by the end I’m sweating and coughing and gasping for breath too. Also in need of nine months off work, a tramadol prescription, plus counselling, like Kev. The bloody ALP didn’t get there in time, in time to save a high percentage of Kev’s skin, or his nerves. Or the life of the baby. Noooooooooooooo!
Nor is there much letup. We jump nine months forward, Kev’s first day back at work with White Watch in east London, and he’s straight into a bloody RTC. Come on, everyone knows that one: road traffic collision. A badly injured young woman is trapped in her car and Kev’s on reassurance duty while his team cut her free. Kev may be a bit annoying but he’s also a total hero.
It never regains the ferocious intensity of the opening but The Smoke, which is made by the people who made Broadchurch, crackles along with a tidy script and some nice performances, though it’s really more about plot than getting inside the souls of its characters. Kev’s the only one with any complexity – fine on the surface, straight back to top bantering with the lads (including one lady lad).
But under the bravadohe’s still haunted by the events of the burning block at the beginning (me too, mate, me too); and another call-out to the same estate brings it all flooding back again. Oh, plus he’s not so fine under his clothes either, as a truly shocking, angry, drunken, full-frontal flash at a posh awards do reveals. Ouch.
Is it eight-episodes sustainable? Hmmm, dunno yet. Definitely good for another, though, and we’ll take it from there. I’ve already got plenty of ammunition for my career war with my boy, whenever it happens. But then he might say so has he. Look, Kev’s a hero, handsome and brave, he goes into burning buildings, cuts pretty girls from the twisted wreckage of their cars.
Look closer, I’ll say, he’s broken and twisted inside himself, and anyway the pretty girl later dies . See how much fun he has at work, the camaraderie, the singalongs. To Adele, though, isn’t that a bit Magic 105.4 FM? What about the girls on the street lifting their tops when the fire engine passes, flashing their tits simply because they’re firemen (and firewoman). Ah, then I’ll simply fast forward to the full-frontal nudity scene, press pause, freeze the image; the horrible down-there burns.
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