The new BBC4 drama Hidden has dropped and trust me, the hype is justified. This creepy series is going to generate many a water cooler conversation and keep crime drama fans out of the sunshine at least one evening a week this summer. Sound like your cup of tea? Well, here's the lowdown including the all important question of how scary is BBC drama Hidden?
Firstly though, here's the essentials. It's an eight-part series, and moving forward, will be going out weekly on BBC One every Wednesday in Wales, then every Saturday on BBC4 everywhere else. If you missed the first episode, don't worry, you're not too far behind. The season premiered in Wales last Wednesday, and then in the rest of the UK on Saturday. You can catch the first episode on iPlayer now.
But what's Hidden actually about? Well, the series is centred around the discovery of a young girl's body found in a disused quarry, having been washed up from a river. Injuries to the body reveal she would have been held captive before her death, and the details are grim. Eventually, it's discovered that this is the body of Mali Pryce, a young girl that has been missing since 2011. DI Cadi John (Sian Reese-Williams) is assigned the case after she has returned to Wales to take care of her ill father. She is assisted by DS Owen Vaughan (Sion Alun Davies), and together, they unspool the secrets of this Welsh community's secret past.
Opening up about the new series, co-creator and Hinterland producer Ed Talfan told the BBC: "Hidden is no more a portrait of a killer than it is the portrait of a precinct. A study of a people and a place affected by a cruel and callous crime." The small screen boss also went on to reveal that the writing team behind the Welsh thriller worked closely with a police adviser in order to get the details of the case and psychology of the characters just right. This complex series also handles a number of other prickly subjects, such as self-harm, class bias, abusive relationships, and mental health. Much like Broadchurch, the brutal murder the series pivots on splits open the darker forces lying dormant in an otherwise apparently sleepy community. Um, sounds downright terrifying to me.
However, something it does not share with Broadchurch or its Scandinavian crime counterparts, is keeping the kidnapper's identity concealed right until the very end — as Hidden is pretty upfront about who was responsible for the missing girl from the first episode onwards. Spoiler alert: Viewers quickly learn his name is Dylan. He's introduced in a scene which sees him being bitterly fired from his job. It's also revealed that he has a decidedly creepy subterranean outhouse which is guarded by dogs. Probably worth remembering that detail.
"Hidden is not a 'whodunnit'," Talfan explained. "We were too interested in the character of Dylan Harris (played by Rhodri Meilir) to conceal his identity from the viewer. Instead, we wanted the audience to spend time with him, to understand his psychology."
Co-creator and Hinterland writer Mark Andrew added: "Of course, trying to get an audience to empathise with our monster, Dylan Harris, was always going to be a challenge. We knew we had to humanise him. To see him as a prisoner of his own troubled upbringing and deeply disturbed psychology."
Andrew also said that they looked into the high-profile abduction cases of Jaycee Dugard and Natascha Kampusch as part of their research for the series. "We wanted to build a grimly realistic portrait of a serial offender," he confirmed.
If you're planning on tuning in, I must tell you, the first episode ends on a kicker of a cliffhanger, with plenty to still theorise about and piece together, for the remaining seven episodes. Expect to feel creeped out over downright terrified, as this is a dark drama that packs plenty of punch. Enjoy.