Is honesty always the best policy?

Harry Young looks at Ordinary Lies, a show that might have slipped under your radar

23rd November 2016

Usually when I mention a series that I’ve just started watching, it’s met with groans of ‘Oh, I watched that ages ago’ or ‘That’s shit you should watch this’. But whenever I asked my pals if they’d seen the new series of Ordinary Lies, they had no idea what I was talking about (and probably didn’t care, either).

This series is the second written by Danny Brocklehurst, who’s other work includes classics like Shameless, Clocking Off and Accused. The show is focussed around a sportswear factory, with each episode being independent and focussing on a different person working at the factory (and they’re all massive liars). The last series, which was based on people who worked at a car dealership, was a massive success and enjoyed over six million tuning in every evening due to its clever intertwining storyline. The show tells us what can go wrong if we tell lies and how they affect more than just ourselves (albeit to the very extreme in the stories in Ordinary Lies).

“A new workplace, new characters and new secrets to keep mean this series is definitely worth watching”

The first episode introduced us to Joe Brierley, who was an extremely (annoyingly) positive sales manager, played by the terrifyingly good Con O’Neill. Concerned about his wife’s sudden secrecy when he asks what she’s been up to, he decides to go full Big Brother and install secrets cameras hidden in the smoke alarms. When his suspicions that his wife Belinda (played by Jill Halfpenny) could be cheating on him looked like they could turn out to be true, his cool and calm persona slowly deteriorated into a mental paranoiac. Not only did this increase tensions at home, his work life felt the effect and slowly but surely everything and anything was going wrong for him.

Eventually (and inevitably), the frustration and built up anger from watching his wife act ‘suspiciously’ he left work early one day. After following her into Cardiff city centre, it turned out that she wasn’t having an affair, in fact she was doing something very different. After their daughter was sexually abused by her gymnastics coach, Berlinda had taken it upon herself to hunt down supposed paedophiles. Whilst this might not be a very common story, it definitely wasn’t what I expected to be the real reason behind her secrecy and definitely took me by surprise. But then that’s what I love about this program: I literally have no idea what is going to happen next.

A new workplace, new characters and new secrets to keep mean this series is definitely worth watching despite being a similar type to that last. The characters are relatable (to an extent) and it has a clear message, that honesty is always the best policy. The show raises some moral questions about our relationships at work and at home, and how well you may know someone (or in this case how well you don’t know someone).

Harry Young

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