BBC3’s The Crash review: Sacha Parkinson & Lily Loveless have some unbelievable dialogue but it has a brilliant final act

by Matt D


If there’s one thing you can say about BBC Three it is that they always try to pitch their programmes at their target audience. This has been seen most recently in their excellent documentary Growing Up Poor and their enjoyable docusoap People Like Us. Now they attempt to do this again with new drama documentary The Crash which is said to have been inspired by true events. Though those true events are never revealed the drama itself revolves around a group of friends who are involved in a car crash during the Christmas period. The Crash takes us back and forth in time to let us know more about these characters and what impact the events of the car crash will have on their various relationships.

The drama starts by introducing us to Kate Harper, played by former Corrie star Sacha Parkinson, who has returned home after her first term at university. Kate and boyfriend Tom attempt a passionate reunion however this is spoilt by Kate’s friend Rachel who suggests that the pair come to the local pub for a drink. Kate initially turns down the offer but once she learns that several other friends are joining them she accepts Rachel’s offer. The trio are joined by Rachel’s boyfriend Ethan and mutual friend Ashley who is loved by the entire group despite being somewhat stand-offish. We later meet Rachel’s sister Leah who tags along to the pub despite Rachel thinking that Leah should be spending time with their sick mother. The final member of the crew is Tom’s aspiring footballer brother Brian who is also Leah’s boyfriend. When the group leave the pub heavy rain has started and the scene is set for a classic crash especially considering that they’re driving down some very narrow country lanes. Soon another car attempts to overtake the two cars the group are in and Tom’s last minute decision to accelerate costs him dearly. As Tom’s car crashes into the one his other friends are in the drama takes us back six months into the past to the day of the group’s final day of school.

the crash

These flashback scenes show the gang trying to convince Rachel to come to the school prom despite recently breaking up with her boyfriend. To me it appeared as if Rachel was incredibly stupid as Kate and Ashley both convince her to change into her prom dress just to take a photo but soon she is forced into the limo that the rest of the group are taking. These scenes also show us more about the youngster’s living situations with Tom and Brian’s parents being fairly down-to-Earth while Kate’s are little bit more highbrow. We also learn that Ashley’s mother has recently passed away meaning that she has had to organise her own prom dress as her father still hasn’t got over the trauma of her mother’s death. As Kate’s parents hold a pre-prom party for the kids and their families we see Brian attempt to flirt with an uninterested Leah who has no desire to attend the prom. Later Tom proposes to Kate who accepts and by the end of the prom all of the group are happy however we know this doesn’t last forever.

Personally I found the final act the most powerful as we survey the damage done by the car crash and which of our protagonists have survived. The majority of these scenes are viewed through the eyes of Ashley, who gets out of the car almost instantly and is shocked to see several of her friends fighting for their lives. Ashley is able to help the emergency services to identify the majority of the group who are then in turn taken to various hospitals. As the three sets of parents are informed of the tragedy we the audience are aware that two of the group have already died making the crash all the more heartbreaking.

the crash 2

It is clear to me that The Crash has been incredibly well-researched as the scenes of the car crash itself and the reactions by various family members were the best elements of the drama. Director Sarah Walker builds up the drama by not immediately revealing who has survived the crash. Instead she has view the crash from the perspective of Ashley as she watches her friends being taken away to hospital while she herself is powerless to do anything. Terry Caffola’s script is also at its best in these final scenes however there is also some well-observed dialogue between the parents of our teenage protagonists. For me the problem is that Caffola can’t really write convincing teenage dialogue therefore I wasn’t really a fan of the scenes leading up to the prom. Of the cast the stand-out to me was former Skins actress Lily Loveless as Ashley the dependable member of the group who has had to suffer silently through her personal tragedy. Loveless’ expressions during the aftermath of the crash were absolutely brilliant and helped to give a realistic aspect to the accident. The performances from some of the other cast members were patchy at best but I feel the use of former soap stars was a good way to appeal to BBC Three’s core audience. One thing that The Crash did have going for it was a convincing chemistry between the younger cast members which made me believe that this group had been friends forever.

While The Crash isn’t the most original piece of programming you’ll ever see it’s still an interesting piece of television. Though we have seen car crashes on TV a multitude of times this one feels very realistic and to me the strengths of The Crash mainly lay in its final act. While I had trouble believing some of the dialogue throughout the episode I still found elements of The Crash very realistic mainly due to the chemistry between the young cast. Overall Caffola has made interested enough in these characters to watch the concluding part of The Crash and discover what impact the accident will have on the group as a whole.

What did you think to The Crash? Did it appeal to you? Leave Your Comments Below


  1. Bev on March 5, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    I agree with most of the comments above. The final scene was particularly realistic and quite moving. I believed in all the characters particularly Tom played by Lewis Rainer. My heart went out to the parents when they had to run home to get their car! And when Ashley started vomiting blood I actually held my breath! Looking forward to next weeks episode.

  2. Ric on March 6, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Excellent show, well written and well directed, very harrowing scenes.

  3. Catherine on March 6, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Watched this as one of my work colleagues was in it, he plays Kate’s Dad, I thought is was brilliant and harrowing, my heart nearly exploded when Ashley was left all alone with no one looking for her when the other parents were rushing off to the hospital. I cant wait to watch part two next week.

  4. Habers on March 6, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I was a bit confused with regards the actual crash scene

    i know that the first car with Tom and Kate in smashed into a 4×4 that was coming in the opposite direction

    Where is the car with their friends that was behind them? and where was the red car that overtook them? (i’m assuming it just sped off)

  5. Owen on March 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    where was rachel,the one that didnt want to go to the prom, i didnt see her in the collision?

  6. Jacs on March 6, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    I’m not the most emotional of people but i was crying my eyes out at the end of the first part! Completely understand the whole split decision costing lives and would like to see the justice part to see whether it does indeed reflect real life situations. As this is inspired by true events. I don’t normally watch BBC 3 as i find most of their programmes to be quite chavvy (People Like Us, Snog marry avoid) I sat BBC 3 should bring back re runs of 2 pints! Yes, i know ive just contradicted myself because that can be seen as chavvy too. But it was bloody brilliant!!

  7. sinead on March 7, 2013 at 8:20 am

    is ashley dead??????????????????????
    Oh please tell me she’s alive!!!!!!!!!

  8. barbara on March 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I thought all the young actors were brilliant it had me on the edge of my seat, carnt wait for tuesday

  9. Abbi on March 10, 2013 at 2:48 am

    I’m confused. As Tom Kate Ashley and Leah was in the 206, Ashley pulled Leah out of a car but wasn’t the 206? Also wheres their friends that was in the car following them?

  10. Dawn on March 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I hadnt seen this so got it on catch up after a friend spoke about it and so glad i did what a great drama had me on the edge of my seat. I was also really chuffed to see Christopher Colquhoun (playing Susanna and Leahs Dad) I went to school with Chris and enjoy everything I have seen him in over the years 🙂
    I would also like to know where the other car was, perhaps we will find out in a further episode.

  11. Sinead on March 12, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I thought there were so many holes in this. It’s a massive coincidence that the first fire man happened to pull up. Where did the anonymous driver of the third vehicle go? No paramedics even checked Ashley after a serious crash, simply accepting her word that she was fine when she was clearly in shock and there was a high chance of internal bleeding. She had a head injury too. When she said she lost her hat that’s a clear sign of confusion associated with concussion. It would never happen that she wouldn’t be checked out after a serious car crash. When Rachel and Leah’s parent’s are running to the scene they seem to completely forget about the existence of Leah. Why did nobody contact the parents of Tom and Brian?! Or Ethan? Although that could be forgiven as he wasn’t as prominent a character as the others. Also, at the beginning why does Rachel not know Brian? And I know that it could be seen as joking around but like she genuinely didn’t know him despite the fact that he had went to their prom, been in pictures and was going out with her sister. Wah it just annoyed me. Gonna be tuning in tomorrow regardless but I had to comment to see if I’m the only one who noticed. Oh and yeah, the dialogue was unrealistic in a lot of parts. Still, a cliffhanger will always bring back viewers. There was also some great acting. Just throwing that in to show I’m not shitting completely all over the episode.

  12. Amd on March 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    What a load of unrealistic crap. This was a powerful story ruined by a sloppy, lazy script.

  13. bobby kelly on March 13, 2013 at 4:00 am

    heart was in my mouth for both parts watching the way Brian passed away (to the despair and helplessness of Ashley) brought tears to my eyes and then, Ashley (seemingly okay) starts to vomit blood thus collapsing to the ground and dying again i felt distraught. really thought Kate was going to be okay and then BOOM!!! again another heartbreaking blow. watched this and thought alot about my own family and friends and can’t even begin to imagine the heartache if i lost them in any similar manor. it made me realise just how lucky i am. overall thoughts, powerful drama and at the same time heartbreaking and joyful (being at their prom)

  14. kim on March 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I really enjoyed this but the one element that let it down was the girl who had the head injury. Its unlikely the only issue she would have would be walking on crutches and memory loss.Although to be fair in one scene it was mentioned that she was “a different person” who generally is a correct observation.I think that until the effects of TBI are corrcetly portrayed in the media, then young people cant take seriously the massive impact an injury of this kind can have.
    The rest was fabulous stuff, I know ive been there. Well acted especially the men/Dads.

  15. Karen on March 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Just watched both episodes back to back and found incredibly emotional, I have a 15 year old daughter and there will come a day when she and her friends will have cars, get into cars and it is so easy for accidents to happen.
    I was slightly confused by the set up of the accident though – what happened to the other 2 cars that were involved? Tom could not have crashed into Ethan’s car as they were both going in the same direction – I can only assume that Ethan’s car crashed when Tom hit the other car coming in the other direction, but what happened to the red car……as they were at fault too. Besides that it was a goood storyline and showed the devestating impact when teenagers from a close-knit community get involved in fatal accidents.

  16. Andy on March 14, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Hats off to all actors in this. Actor or not, this couldn’t have been an easy job. Having experienced a similar scenario not so long back I found this hit home…. and hard. So emotionally moved by this. Very difficult to watch but a familiar and very fitting tribute at the end.

    Fifi….. R.i.p our beautiful Angel. xxx

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