Vigil: Episode 1
August 30, 2021 7:39 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

When a crew member is found dead aboard the Trident nuclear submarine HMS Vigil, Detective Amy Silva is flown out to investigate.

There's a lot of darkness, a lot of ladders, and not a lot of levity. Martin Compston is dispatched with surprising swiftness. Not one for claustrophobics, or anyone with a fear of being dangled from a helicopter by a piece of string.
posted by penguin pie (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'm so curious about the set, I can't work out if it's huge, or actually just one ladder and one corridor that they keep filming from different angles!

I can't bring myself to be excited by Suranne Jones so far, but I don't think I've actually seen her in anything else, so maybe I've missed her at her best.

Enough suspense and mystery to keep me going, I think, though it's a little bit 'TV drama by numbers' - Initial mysterious death, check! Characters stuck together, causing tension, check! Female hero being blocked by patronising men - check! Hero with tortured past that threatens to undermine her mission - check! But I do also really want to find out what happened.

We'll see...
posted by penguin pie at 7:45 AM on August 30


We really like Suranne, and of course Paterson Joseph is in this as well so that's fab. Was not aware of this show so will endeavour to check it out, thanks for the heads up!
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:35 PM on August 30


I can't bring myself to be excited by Suranne Jones so far, but I don't think I've actually seen her in anything else, so maybe I've missed her at her best.

She delivered my favorite line in the whole of the Doctor Who franchise, when playing the personification of the TARDIS in the Gaiman-written episode "The Doctor's Wife."
posted by gauche at 8:08 AM on August 31


and of course Paterson Joseph is in this as well so that's fab.

But there's a little bit of me that will always think of him as Johnson from Peep Show, which makes it bewildering to see him in charge of a submarine :)
posted by penguin pie at 12:33 PM on August 31 [1 favorite]


I'm so curious about the set, I can't work out if it's huge, or actually just one ladder and one corridor that they keep filming from different angles!

I was too, so I looked it up and the answer is apparently that it is actually quite big.

It took me halfway through to recognize Shaun Evans, the facial hair threw me.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:27 PM on September 1


She delivered my favorite line in the whole of the Doctor Who franchise, when playing the personification of the TARDIS in the Gaiman-written episode "The Doctor's Wife."

Well, don't leave us hanging ...

(Was it the one about humans being bigger on the inside than the outside? Because, if so, that was my favourite line too.)

I don't think I've actually seen her in anything else

She was the central character in both Gentleman Jack and Dr Foster. She also played Anne Oldman in Charlie Booker's cop show parody A Touch of Frost.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:09 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


I can't bring myself to be excited by Suranne Jones so far, but I don't think I've actually seen her in anything else, so maybe I've missed her at her best.


She was in the fine Scott and Bailey. It could almost be the same character, promoted up the ranks.
posted by Thella at 7:05 PM on September 4


Finally managed to get a hold of this and we watched the first two episodes last night. It's a great cosy British crime procedural with an interesting setting and it hits the spot pretty much exactly.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:53 PM on September 26


So, now that it's done: It was OK, I guess? I still kind of roll my eyes at this gigantic barely staffed submarine with spaces you can get lost in, but maybe boomers are different. And there was a whole bunch of other stuff that sort of made me go "ugh, ok, for narrative convenience I'll grant you that."

But still, it didn't make me hate watch to the end, it was fine.
posted by Kyol at 7:10 PM on September 26


2 episodes in, and the set is the real star so far. When I was a kid I was in the Navy Cadet force for a while - and remember getting to go round a submarine at Faslane. Every bit of wall space seemed to be some kind of sharp or scary looking handle or control - so the line about novices getting covered in bruises in their first few weeks aboard seems apt. The series appears to have got its deployment of beards right too: paragraph 3818 of 'The Queen's Regulations for the Royal Navy' - first edition 1731 - stipulates that gentleman sailors require the permission of their commanding officer to grow a beard, that it shall be kept nearly trimmed in the area of the lower neck and cheekbones and that its length shall be neither shorter than 2.5mm (designer stubble) or longer than 25.5 (hipster). It must not extend beyond the collar of the wearer's shirt. You have to be able to grow your beard to size within a fortnight and you may be obliged to shave it at short notice if having to use breathing apparatus.

So they got the set and the beards right. But maybe not so much the sense of boredom waiting around for anything to happen. Vigil has a diverting emergency every 3 minutes or so. The plot? Oh lordy!
posted by rongorongo at 3:30 AM on November 11


(Complete side-track here - but the Royal Navy regulations on standards of personal appearance are a fascinating read in their own right. They have gone to great length to stipulate that tattoos can be pornographic - but not extremely pornographic, that any hair ties used by women should not be made from synthetic material. It is an incredibly detailed document.)
posted by rongorongo at 6:17 AM on November 11


Reached the end...

Hard not to conclude that Vigil got made as a part of chain events that goes "let's make a drama set on a Trident submarine" - "but... we're probably going to need to co-operation of the Royal Navy to do that properly" - "so the plot line will probably have to show them in the best light and make the anti-trident people out as the baddies". The stupidity of the resulting plot does a great dis-service to actual submariners, actual police, actual espionage activities and - most especially - anti nuclear weapons people. As a result if comes over as the sort of pro-UK government crap that increasingly seems to bear the BBC's hallmark. Sorry for all the fine actors, good looking locations and researchers who understand beards, and licence payer's cash, that got caught up in this mess.

It is more of a shame because there was room write a compelling drama that conveys what it is like to live and work on one of these submarines, what the vessels are actually aiming to achieve (and whether they do), why they are in line for replacement, why the British are spending such huge sums to do so, what actual espionage and sabotage may be in play, and on where they would be stationed if Scotland votes to become independent. None of these are topics which are particularly likely to get RN of UK Gov. approval, however.
posted by rongorongo at 6:58 AM on November 16


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