Major spoilers for Back To Life ahead.
BBC's dark comedy Back To Life follows the story of Miri, a woman who is navigating life after leaving prison following a lengthy sentence for a shocking crime. The series takes place during the first weeks after Miri's release and follows her as she struggles to rekindle relationships and lead a "normal" life. To keep viewers on the edge of their seats, the writers don't reveal the exact details of Miri's criminal history right off the bat. Naturally, that begs the question: What crime did Miri commit in Back To Life?
During Season 1 of Back To Life, which is currently available to watch in its entirety on BBC iPlayer and Hulu, it's revealed that Miri was convicted of murdering one of her best friends by pushing her off a cliff. Throughout the season, Miri stands by her claim that the murder was accidental, stating that her friend attacked and bit her in a fit of unexplained rage. (The explanation eventually comes during the season's explosive finale and has everything to do with an affair). However, members of Miri's community aren't convinced by her story and believe she is a cold-blooded killer.
As previously mentioned, Back To Life follows the story of Miri who, after an 18-year prison sentence, returns her tiny hometown of Hythe, where she grew up. Miri is played by actor Daisy Haggard, who also wrote the BBC series. Haggard previously revealed that the character is in some ways modelled on herself. "In some ways, Miri would be how I would be in some situations," the actress told the Radio Times. "She gets pushed to the floor and bounces back up again, she’s an optimist and she’s positive and essentially not what you would expect from her shocking past. I do not have her shocking past but I share her relentless optimism."
During an interview with the BBC, Haggard also revealed that the public attitude toward women who commit crimes fascinates her, and is what partly inspired the show's plot. Speaking to the BBC, she said:
"I was always really interested in how harshly we judge a woman who has done a bad thing over how we judge men. We put things that men do sometimes down to testosterone. We forgive them a little easier. I wanted to write a show about a woman who had done something in her past and what that would be like, to try and start your life again with that enormous dark secret and baggage behind you."
The new series has so far enjoyed some glowing reviews, with Lucy Mangan from The Guardian praising Back To Life's "perfect pacing, polished writing, intricately and carefully laid plots and payoffs." The review also pointed out similarities between Back To Life and the comedy-drama Fleabag. However, in an interview with the BBC, Haggard was eager to steer clear of the comparisons. When referencing Fleabag creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, she said:
"Our voices are so different that I never wilfully felt I had to do anything to make [Back To Life] feel different. Phoebe is a genius and I love that show so much and I am so happy that she's doing what she's doing for women. I think it's fantastic but also my voice is a different voice and so I didn't consciously do anything because it was just a very different story in my mind."
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