Five Days returns to BBC One

by Lisa McGarry

Suranne Jones (Unforgiven, Coronation Street) leads an impressive ensemble cast in Gwyneth Hughes’s (Five Days, Miss Austen Regrets, Cherished) gripping new five-part mystery, Five Days which returns to BBC One in March 2010.

A tiny newborn baby is abandoned in the toilets of a Yorkshire hospital. At the same time, the Trans-Pennine commuter train is halted by a suicidal jumper – are they connected?

From this moment on, the lives of those on board the train and in the hospital will be changed irrevocably, not least for DC Laurie Franklin (Suranne Jones), off-duty that day but travelling on the train with her mum, Jen (Anne Reid), who has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Laurie likes tying up loose ends. And, if she can prove a connection between the body and the baby, she will be happy. But things never turn out quite the way we expect. Who is the baby’s mother? And who is the jumper? And was it a suicide – or was it really a murder? As Laurie is drawn deeper into the mystery, she realises this might not be a simple case at all, but something much darker.

“I wanted to write something which featured police officers as they are, as human beings with their own preoccupations and their own humour,” says writer Gwyneth Hughes.

“My father was a uniformed constable in the Metropolitan Police and I rarely see any cops on the telly that I recognise!

“But, although we see a lot of coppers in Five Days, it’s not at heart a crime series – it’s a multi-layered mystery and all the characters have a part to play in unravelling the puzzle. The format helps here because it challenges the audience to keep up with an investigation which is jumping ahead all the time.

“The inspiration for the second series of Five Days came from lots of ideas I was having about our national identity in modern Britain. I wanted to write about Yorkshire because that’s where I live and it’s the community I know and love. A lot of Muslims live here and I wanted to write about their lives, too.

“I wanted Muslim characters living richer, fuller lives with issues and concerns that we all face – for example my couple unable to have children. Though I didn’t want to avoid the problem of violent extremism, I did want to see it from inside their family experience.”

Five Days 2 is an atmospheric ensemble drama – a mystery which unfolds over the five most significant days of the police investigation into these two mysteries. It is set in the heart of urban Yorkshire – a melting pot of tensions and relationships within a multicultural landscape.