Sunday 18th December 2011
7pm ITV 1
‘Just Henry’ was the first door to open on the advent calendar of Christmas TV. Based on a Michelle Magorian novel, it stars Sheila Hancock
and Stephen Campbell Moore
, telling the story of a teenage boy who discovers his father – who is thought to have died in the war – is alive.
Newcomer Josh Bolt
stars as the titular character, Henry Dodge, a friendless boy stuck between his interfering Grandmother (Hancock) and his remarried pregnant mother (Elaine Cassidy
) as he tries to uncover the truth behind his father’s disappearance.
From the premise, this sound like just your run of the mill World War Two based drama, but only a short while in you see it is so much more. Lies, deceit and crime overtake a relatively peaceful family in post-war Britain.
Campbell Moore’s depiction as the fallen soldier, Joey Dodge, who rises from the dead is chilling. Joey at first appears charming, caring and warm, but soon turns sour as his violent ways are slowly unravelled in an epic finale full of tears, danger and an unconventional birth.
But, the most touching parts of this story emerge in the underlying and heart warming themes of growing up. Henry comes to love his step father, lose his childlike, naïve preconceptions, and meet his first girlfriend.
All in all, this drama is a wonderful cast beautifully telling a tragic story of loss. But it is Bolt who stands head and shoulders above the rest. He will be on our screens for a long time to come and he will play more than ‘Just Henry’.