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Hidden series 1 review

Episodes: 8

Premiered: 2018

Duration: 1 hr

A real slowburner that creeps up on you, Craith/Hidden is a Welsh noir that follows two versions of the same story: that of a disturbed serial killer as he (largely unsuccessfully) fights his urge to kidnap and kill young women and the dedicated police officers out to stop him.

It’s a dark tale that stars Hinterland‘s Sian Reese-Williams as lead detective Cadi John and Sion Alun Davies as her sergeant, Owen. The pair are tasked with tracking down the disturbed but rather oddly pathetic figure of Dylan (My Family‘s Rhodri Meilir), a maladjusted young man who lives with his overbearing mother and who can’t stop abducting and imprisoning local women.

Hidden is a brooding affair that treads slightly familiar ground but does so with a fresh approach: there are no whodunit-style guessing games teasing the audience here; we meet the bad guy straight away and get a disturbingly frank look at the man. It’s an interesting idea that reminds us all about the often surprising mundanity of evil.

Here’s our Hidden series 1 review.

Hidden episode 1 review

WARNING: contains mild spoilers for Hidden episode 1

BBC’s Hidden goes by another name in its native language. It started out on a primarily non-English speaking channel and just made its debut on BBC Four, in their 9pm Saturday night slot, known in some TV-loving UK households as ‘Foreign Crime Drama Time’. Yet Craith, as it’s also called, even with its occasional subtitling, stunning landscapes, eerily familiar tone and plot of a strong female detective searching for the twisted killer of local women isn’t – as you might assume – Nordic noir. Nor is it French, German or Belgian. It’s British.

Hinterland, Requiem, Keeping Faith… There’s a mini Welsh wave going on at the moment in dark dramas and Hidden is just the latest to crash onto our televisual shores. Viewers are offered two ways of watching the series; there’s the mostly English language version on BBC Four that we’ll be watching and covering and there’s the ‘original’ Welsh language version as shown on BBC Wales. Hidden’s no remake, though. Both were filmed at the same time, with the same scene being shot twice – in Welsh and then in English/bilingual. Now that’s a lot of work for the cast and crew…

The smattering of Cymric dialogue – along with the evocative Snowdonian vistas and the perfectly matched cinematography – lends Hidden a real Scandi flavour, but a charming and frill-free central performance by former Emmerdale actress Sian Reese-Williams helps ground this potentially quite disturbing psychological thriller.

This debut episode doesn’t stun with any flashy sequences or showy gimmicks. What it does instead is confidently set up the storyline with patience and no small amount of charm. Of course, we kick things off with the discovery of a woman’s corpse. That’s par for the course with these things. But what we really like here is that it seems as though we might have been told the killer nice and early…

Now, some viewers will sigh a little here, loving as so many do the whodunit guessing game that comes with the majority of TV crime dramas. And while this Agatha Christie-style set-up can make for a fun watch at home, it’s sometimes at the expense of the programme itself. The drama becomes obsessed with red herrings and curveballs and it results in a slightly untidy mess of loose ends, odd characters and a general lack of realism.

It doesn’t take Hercule Poirot to deduce that Dylan Harris (My Family‘s Rhodri Meilir), a rather glum-looking and lonely man, is behind the crimes here. Living in a forest clearing in a dimly-lit wooden house like something out of Grimm fairytale and bullied by his mother Iona (Gillian Elisa), he appears – on the surface – to be quite a sympathetic character. So we’re excited to see how the writers handle his story, motives and development.

On his tail is the aforementioned Reese-Williams. DI Cadi John is a refreshingly down-to-earth type. Far removed for the highly-strung histrionics of a Marcella, say, Cadi’s just a normal woman. She’s sardonic, straight-talking and has a rather laissez faire approach to her health (if her enthusiasm toward takeaways, wine and cigarettes in this first 45 minutes is any indication, anyway). That said, she’s bigger problems on her plate. Her father’s dying and her relationship with her older sister is suffering because of it. And a missing girl has just turned up dead, of course.

Away from the washed-up corpse and the dogged detective on the case we have a couple of so-far unconnected plot strands occasionally waving into view. There’s the caring but stressed-out district nurse Lowri Driscoll (Lois Meleri-Jones), who appears to be being stalked by some rather unpleasant chap called Marc. And there’s Megan (Bethan John), a suicidal student who’s close to the edge – quite literally at one point as she dangles over a bridge. We’re sure to see them brought into the main plot very soon.

So far, after one episode, Hidden looks solid. Classy, gripping and well acted, there’s nothing about it that gives us cause for concern. The various plot threads will start to assemble and Harris’ character will surely come to the fore and prove to be more than a little interesting/terrifying.

Alright, so the brown hue, the aerial shots of cars twisting around rocky roads, the occasional mumbled line and the ‘troubled’ detective fighting demons and a killer isn’t hugely original. That doesn’t mean it can’t still be hugely enjoyable, though.

Did you catch Craith/Hidden episode 1? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of Hidden episode 2 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

2 Comments

    Hard to understand the different language spoken by some of the characters! But will watch because I-enjoy British suspense shows. Thank goodness for subtitles!

    Loving it so far on catch up but just had to pause and rewind . How on earth do they manage to fit so much into one day ? “We found Body found this Morning” , she says to the social worker at his office so they must be seeing him before 5 . They’ve fitted in visit to the father then the mortuary . Team meeting and then we see Dylan going home for his tea at end of day . so I am slightly confused as to timelines

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Hidden episode 2 review

WARNING: contains mild spoilers. Still catching up on Hidden episode 2? Read Steve’s review of episode 1 here.

Anyone on at least nodding terms with classic horror films will be familiar with John Carpenter’s legendary 1978 slasher flick, Halloween. In it, a bunch of high school kids are terrorised and stabbed to pieces by Michael Myers, a giant and seemingly unkillable serial killer in a cheap-looking white mask. Perhaps the weirdest thing about this crazed murderer (one of many) was his slow prowling style. No matter how fast those lithe 17-year-olds ran away from him, the lumbering figure of Myers, his vision obscured by his clumsy papier-mâché mask, would never lose them. He’d stroll robotically along at a snail’s pace, yet constantly be on their tails. It was all very odd.

Why are we rambling on about some 40-year-old horror movie in a review of a BBC Wales crime drama? Well, there’s (some) method in our madness. Watching BBC Four’s new crimer Hidden brings the film to mind – at least when Rhodri Meilir’s Dylan Harris is on screen, anyway. The Hinterland actor plays creepy well. Really well. As the main antagonist of this eight-part serial he looms and skulks around almost constantly, only stopping to follow women and kidnap them. All done at an unbelievably slow pace.

Harris’ languid stalking and generally unsettling behaviour is representative of Hidden on a larger scale: slow, creepy and deliberate. But unlike the damaged killer at its core, the programme is much more confident. Dylan Harris’ sedate movements stem from his shattered personality, Hidden’s unrushed style stems from assurance.

A lot of TV crime dramas throw everything they can get their hands on at the viewers. Blood, gore, red herrings, shocks, unnecessary fights and screeching car chases. A showy and whizz-bang approach that often comes across as panicky and demonstrative of a lack of faith in the writing and storyline. No so with Hidden. Even the lead detective is a charmingly normal and down-to-earth woman. DI Cadi John (Sian Reese-Williams) isn’t battling alcoholism or mourning a dead husband or murdered child. She squabbles with her sister and helps care for her dying father, but there’s a realism there. Her troubles are everyday and relatable – and that’s quite refreshing.

Darker family dynamics can be seen in the Harris household, though. Dylan, being a serial killer, isn’t exactly a nice chap. But nor is he a cardboard cutout ‘evil murderer’ type. He’s a child in a man’s body, belittled and abused constantly by his domineering mother, he seeks solace and comfort of the women he bundles into his truck.

He’s no Hannibal Lector-esque criminal mastermind, though. In this second episode we see him botch a snatching as he follows and ultimately fails to get hold of already-being-stalked-by-another-bloke Lowri Driscoll. Will he try again later? Or give up and target another young woman? If it’s the latter, then our money’s on self-harming Megan Ruddock. Yet to fit into the story, we can see the doe-eyed uni student breaking bad and making a surprisingly formidable hostage.

Cadi and her partner DI Owen Vaughan were hitting the street heavily in this second outing, interviewing the murdered girl’s dirtbag ex-boyfriend and generally doing their barking-up-the-wrong-tree due diligence. Will any of these peripheral characters slot into the overall plot in any meaningful way, given we know the killer so early on? We’ll have to wait and see.

It’s been a slow but steady start for Hidden. We enjoyed the opening outing and can’t say that episode 2 disappointed in any way. In fact, we’re looking forward to seeing Cadi chase down Dylan Harris in the next six instalments. Not that she’ll have to run very fast, of course.

Did you catch Craith/Hidden episode 2? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of Hidden episode 3 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

2 Comments

    “Excellent dark noir mystery, but hated that the shop girl and boarder
    did not end up together, and he was killed. There needed to be a spark of hope in an otherwise depressing and dreary story plot.”

    “He seeks solace and comfort of the women he bundles into his truck.” – I cannot think of any better one-liner!

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Hidden episode 3 review

Still catching up on Hidden episode 3? Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.

In one of Aesop’s most well-known and well-loved fables, a determined tortoise beats an arrogant hare in a running race. The moral of the story being a mixture of ‘slow and steady wins the race’ and ‘don’t get too cocky’. Now, imagine if you will that TV crime dramas are in a race. A good percentage of those taking part take the hare’s approach – showy, all pace, no plan and giving off a very definite air of unearned confidence. Whereas the programmes that ultimately win the race, and the critics’ and public’s affection, are the clever and slow plodders that pace themselves and provide consistent entertainment.

Basically, what we’re saying is that BBC Four’s new Welsh crime drama Hidden is a tortoise. But in the most complimentary way possible, you understand.

We can’t help think that the deliberate and unrushed approach that the show takes could come across as more than a little dull or uninteresting in the wrong hands. Luckily for us though, co-creators Ed Talfan and Mark Andrew’s hands are more than capable of creating a tense and engaging drama that not only works as a crime thriller but also resonates as a realistic and adept family drama as well. Episode 3 proves that point from the off, luxuriating assuredly in a good ten or fifteen minutes of non-murdery action.

We start with Cadi having a sit down with her frosty sister Elin, exchanging barbs and digs as they try in vain to discuss their situation, given their dad’s rapidly declining health. Resentments bubble under the surface but ultimately stay there. We then cut to victim Mali’s family as they continue to struggle to come to terms with what happened to her. That’s a quarter of the third instalment without even mention of the central crime or search for the ma responsible.

The police procedural elements soon kick back into life though and remember we’re dealing with a determined female detective in a picturesque rural location tracking down a twisted criminal because Cadi puts on a thick piece of knitwear right out of the wardrobe of Sarah Lund from The Killing. The kind of chunky pullover that screams ‘no-nonsense woman looking for a nutter!’

Before DI Cadi John and her partner Owen track down the man behind the kidnappings and deaths, the rangy and sallow figure of Dylan Harris, there are a few red herrings to deal with first. Nurse Lowri – the young woman who narrowly escaped a snatching attempt at the end of last week’s episode – leads them to her rather unpleasant ex Marc Lewis – a man who, in one three minute scene in his cell, manages to refer to three separate women as ‘bitches’. As you can imagine, this didn’t go down well with Cadi, who was only too pleased to restrain Marc with some force before carrying on her investigation.

Soon, Cadi and Owen realise that the Lewis lead is a duff one – albeit one which eventually leads them to stumble across Dylan Harris, who we later find slumped asleep in his car post-failed Lowri attack. In an eventful day for the oddly sympathetic abductor and killer of young women, Dylan then gets sacked for appearing late again, punches his truck window in with his bare fist, gets it patched up at hospital (by Cadi’s sister Elin, no less), runs over Megan on his way home and then takes her home to ‘look after her’. It’s all go in the world of psychopaths, isn’t it?

We’ve been waiting to see how Megan fits into Hidden and it seems that she is indeed the next captive of the twisted Harris family. Besieged by her own mental health issues, how will she cope? Will she draw upon some mental fortitude and use her smarts to escape or even stay alive? We’ll have to wait and see. We won’t get any answers soon, though. Hidden’s the tortoise, not the hare, remember.

Did you catch Craith/Hidden episode 3? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of Hidden episode 4 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

2 Comments

    Each episode is four times longer than it need be. The reason it is called ‘Hidden’ is because all the characters and the scenes, in fact almost everything, is hidden in near total darkness. It is a very frustrating program to watch. On fourth episode now and only managing to get through it by fast forwarding most of the scenes until something actually happens.

    I think this series is an absolute joy to watch. A good script with top notch acting playing believable characters makes this one of the better dramas of this particular genre. Sometimes it’s about the quality of the journey rather than the speed at which things unfold.

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Hidden episode 4 review

Still catching up on Hidden episode 4? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.

Crime drama serials, if made well enough, can be seriously memorable affairs. We all have our favourites from down the years, of course. Mostly though, we remember them as a whole – in their entirety. Rarely do we recall specific episodes – unless, that is, the makers decide to cut loose with one and get a little creative. The most common way to do just that? To zoom in and focus on something for a whole hour with no cutting to other plot strands. Often this means just one location and a limited cast is used. Called ‘bottle episodes’, they used to be employed for budgetary reasons. Now, the reasons behind them are mostly narrative based. And they often make for some damn fine television.

For us, the very best examples of this kind of the crime drama bottling come in the tenth episode of Breaking Bad season 3 – an episode called ‘Fly’ centring around the two main characters confined to cooking meth in a lab and getting annoyed at a pesky housefly. And in the unparalleled excellence that came with episode four of True Detective series 1, the stand-alone beauty ‘Who Goes There’ – a flashback about East Texan motorcycle gangs known for its incredible Steadicam shot, that rather bravely advanced the plot of the series in almost no way whatsoever.

The fourth episode of BBC Wales’ excellent and creeping series Hidden/Craith serves up something of a bottle at its midway point. There are no particularly flashy gimmicks, although slightly more flamboyant camerawork than usual is on show (to its credit). Instead, it’s more of a ‘zoom in’ effort.

Up to now, all three episodes have followed the traditional narrative structure you’d expect from a show of its kind, skipping between the crime/criminal and the police on his tail. Not so here. This week’s slice of Cymru Noir is a full forty five-odd minutes of serial abductor/killer Dylan Harris and his twisted home life. And what a forty five-odd minutes there are.

Most crime dramas hide the bad guy’s identity in order to create tension and a fun whodunit guessing game. In doing so though, you lose the ability to focus in on the most fascinating part – the psyche of the perpetrator. Sure, police procedure can be interesting and Hidden doesn’t shun that side, but its fascination with Dylan Harris and his twisted family – like a toned down version of Snowdonia Chainsaw Massacre – is gratefully received here.

So, then. Down on the farm and Dylan is bedding his new ‘patient’ (victim) in. After stepping out in front of his truck at the end of episode 3, Megan ‘chose’ her path apparently and our lanky antagonist is determined to keep her locked up in the basement of his grandparents’ burnt-out old house, to do with as he sees fit. His mother Iona appears angry at his latest kidnapping, but for a forceful woman she doesn’t exert much force around the issue. Does she secretly enjoy her son’s woman-snatching ways? It certainly seems she might.

Up until now, we’ve only really seen Harris’ doe-eyed and child-like side. We know he has a dark persona too, but it’s remained out of sight. His Mr Hyde peeks out from its Dr Jekyll shell a couple of times here, though, with Rhodri Meilir giving a wonderfully creepy and nuanced performance as the simultaneously sympathetic and skin-crawlingly terrifying Harris.

Witness to some of the evil doings, Dylan’s mute young daughter Nia now holds vital information that we’re imagining DI Cadi John and her partner Owen will be keen to tease out of her later on. You know, when the two of them are allowed back onto the show, that is.

Did you catch Craith/Hidden episode 4? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of Hidden episode 5 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

10 Comments

    This series has grown on me as it has progessed. It is refreshing to have more interest in the perpetrator and victim than in the detectives (Gwyneth Keyworth deserves a mention as Megan). I do wonder if the detectives are intentionally dull. After a slow plodding start and progression without shocks and cliffhangers I am a little surprised to find myself keenly awaiting the next episode.

    I will continue to watch this drama until the end just to see them get the baddies BUT the storylines are so SO slow and I’m finding it somewhat implausable. My mind keeps wandering because it’s so slow-mo, I’ve probably missed some vital….but then again probably not! It’s difficult to engage with the other stories playing out, that will somehow gain relevance later but by that time I will have forgotten who these characters are. What I’m finding very hard to believe is that the Welsh police wouldn’t have put out a poster and TV campaign on-the-lines of: have you seen this man (photos and photofit) and very recognisable red truck? They would have got him by now in the ‘real-world’. Yawn.

    Episode 4 is absolute tosh. It’s clear what it’s trying to achieve but it’s all so slow, boring and pedestrian. Dull telly trying to dress up as ‘deep’ and ‘sophisticated’. A big disappointment after reasonable earlier episodes.

    Graeme, in real life these type of abductions last weeks, months and sometimes years. You have had enough after less than 1 hour ! This episode gave us an uninterrupted insight into the mind and psyche of the bad guy, and showed us a little bit more about the relationship he has with his mother – which is why he is the way he is. If you think that is dull then this series is most certainly not for you.

    Paul, this is not real, it’s just poorly thought out drama, yes drama apparently! And sometimes we have to keep on watching just to see what happens. We are allowed to yawn and suggest they speed things up. However, on the plus side I can make myself a brew and I usually do some work whilst watching it as it’s hardly blink-and-you-miss something viewing. Well I managed to work out his relationship with his mother in the first episode…. just saying!

    I could not agree more!!! All the pointless substories that got nothing to do with anything and seems like a plot to lengthen a series which would have fit in 4 episodes.

    I absolutely love this serial, though I was lucky to find it considering the fact that, for some reason the BBC never announced that it was on or even trailed it unlike some programmes that are endlessly advertised across the BBC network – thank goodness for iplayer! Having been an English fan of all the series of the dark Welsh crime drama Hinterland, I was determined to watch this in any way possible and I am glad I have. I just can’t think of anything negative that I can say about Hidden. The characterisations are excellently done and the direction and filming is top notch. Why the BBC felt that it was not worthy of advance publicity is beyond me unless there is some hidden reason. If they don’t ‘plug’ it then less people will know about it and therefore watch it. Lack of viewers? Oh well, no further series!

    It’s pretty dark, although we know it’s Dylan who has Megan, we have to see what his intentions is long term, & what Nia’s role is.

    His daughter is aware that something is going on his mother is evil and so far he is coming across as strange but we haven’t seen his evil side it is a very gripping series looking forward to next episode

    Brilliant! I love the mix of Welsh and English it added the the tension. We need to see more Welsh drama on British mainstream television.

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Hidden episode 5 review

WARNING: contains spoilers. Still catching up on Hidden episode 5? Read Steve’s review of episode 4 here.

Last week’s instalment of the BBC’s dark but ruggedly beautiful new crime series Hidden, episode 4, was something of a mid-series break for everyone. A bit of a holiday if you like, albeit a really rather disturbing one. Whereas the previous three hours had flitted between the police investigation, the DI’s private lives and the sinister goings-on over at Dylan Harris’ farm, the fourth slice of Hidden just focused on Harris, his overbearingly terrifying mother Iona and his mute but cute little daughter Nia. Suffice to say it creeped the audience at home out even more than before. It was very much time spent in the lair of the beast.

Episode 5 took us back to more familiar ground and the investigation by lead investigator DI Cadi John (played with absolute aplomb by Hinterland actress Sian Reese-Williams). Slowly but surely they’re on Harris’ trail, but while he might not exactly be a Moriarty-style criminal mastermind, his clan’s off-the-grid lifestyle does make them almost invisible.

That said, the trail is warming up a little. Cadi and her partner Owen have glimpsed Harris, spotting him eyeing up Lowri before his bungled kidnapping attempt. They’ve even tracked down the owner of his red pick-up truck – a shifty and unhelpful type called William Parry – a former employer of Dylan’s who can’t quite remember him and quite obviously dislikes the police. It turned out to be a frustrating end to a rather decent lead.

Cadi has slightly bigger things to worry about, though. As her father’s health further deteriorates, she realises that he, a former police officer himself, may be involved in a previous investigation from 2005, the murder of Anna Williams. A murder which could well be linked to her current case. It seems that her father Huw’s investigation could just turn out to paint the old man in a pretty poor light indeed…

There are lots of things to admire about the way Hidden goes about its business. We’ve mentioned before how the background stories of Cadi and Owen and Dylan and even the more peripheral characters brilliantly round them all and provide drive and personality and understanding. There was something else that really struck us this week though and that’s the sheer realism of it all.

Cadi’s boss is remarkably unremarkable. She’s professional, polite and helpful. She’s how a Chief Inspector would be in real life. There’s no dramatic showboating, no shouting, no threatening to take badges or anything silly like that. Touches like these really bring you into the action and immerse you. These kinds of details set apart superior crime dramas like Hidden. Not everyone has to be a stand out ‘character’. Often, when dramas attempt this it becomes a little try-hard and overbearing.

We didn’t see a huge amount of Harris’ character this week, but from the little we did glimpse, it appears as though the mask is beginning to slip somewhat. His chilling behaviour towards his new victim Megan is becoming increasingly callous and inhuman. Anyone who remembers Rhodri Meilir’s early career and part in the BBC One sitcom My Family might be taken out of the horror a wee bit when they recall the daft lodger character he played in that. Still, Meilir puts in one helluva performance here – the man plays the haunted figure of Dylan Harris perfectly.

Next week promises to delve more into Cadi’s father’s role in potentially locking up the wrong man for Anna Williams’ murder and allowing Harris and Iona to continue their reign of terror from their Brothers Grimm fairytale cottage. Which should, as Huw’s death draws ever closer, make the case just that little bit more personal for Cadi.

Did you catch Craith/Hidden episode 5? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of Hidden episode 6 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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Hidden episode 6 review

Still catching up on Hidden episode 6? Read Steve’s review of episode 5 here.

This week’s episode left us with a real feeling of ‘Hidden by name, hidden by nature.’ At this point in BBC Wales’ gripping crime drama, as we edge to the three-quarter mark, plenty is still obscured and tucked away from sight. Of course, primarily, we have Megan. She’s quite literally hidden in the basement of an abandoned house in the middle of the woods. The countryside of northern Wales really is stunning – something Hidden doesn’t shy away from – but it sure looks tricky to enjoy it from the viewpoint of a decrepit subterranean forest dungeon. Poor Megan. Still, we’re sure she’ll be fine. More on her shortly.

Also hidden is Dylan Harris’ true personality. Up to this point we’ve only really seen his sad, moping persona. Okay, we know the man snatches women and doesn’t exactly make their lives all that much fun, but the really nasty side? We think that could well be coming soon. And it won’t make for pleasant viewing. Dylan’s identity as the kidnapper and killer of women is also concealed, at least to the police, anyhow. Cadi and Owen are hot on his tail, but they still don’t know who he is quite yet.

What else is as to unseen in Hidden? Well, Owen’s keeping his desire to carry on with the attractive brunette in his office very much to himself. Last week saw him tempted to stray but this instalment saw him staying true to his pregnant partner and shunning the idea of a secret relationship. Which is quite a nice touch for a drama. We were certain a lurid love affair was on the cards. Well played, Hidden.

There seems to be quite a bit of truth hidden in the old Anna Williams investigation as well. Cadi’s now-dying father was the lead investigator on that case, a case that saw a man imprisoned unfairly. Dad Huw’s mooning as he recalled the case suggests he may well know he caught the wrong man for the crime too.

That man was Endaf Elwy. Played wonderfully by Mark Lewis Jones, his meeting with Cadi is the stand-out scene of the series so far. Sian Reese-Williams is an excellent actress and bouncing off the Hinterland and Last Jedi actor, these five minutes made for electric viewing. Elwy is clearly innocent and obviously a vulnerable adult. Here’s hoping justice comes his way soon, eh?

Back to Megan in her underground cell. She’s still pretty helpless and now has to worry about Dylan’s tyrannical mother Iona as well as her kidnapper. But one thing we did see this week is the beginnings of a power play from her side. To this point, all we’ve had is Harris exercising power over her, presumably as a way of controlling something in his life, given the household’s matriarchal dominance. But Megan’s not taking her confinement lying down (well, alright, technically she is, what with her so often handcuffed to a bed, but you know what we mean…).

Megan began to deliberately and cynically build rapport with Dylan by empathising with him about his mother, his awkwardness and his unhappiness. She intentionally drew comparisons between the pair. She mirrored his sentiments in order to establish a bond and gain trust. Ironically it’s a tactic used by hostage negotiators. And also captured SAS soldiers…

She who dares wins.

Will Megan make it out of the woods herself? Or will she need to rely on the sleuthing of DI Cadi John? Episode seven of Hidden might not reveal all next week, but the crescendo isn’t far away now.

Did you watch Craith/Hidden episode 6? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below…

Read Steve’s review of Hidden episode 7 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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Hidden episode 7 review

WARNING: contains spoilers. Still catching up on Hidden episode 7? Read Steve’s review of episode 6 here.

Dark, tense, gripping, atmospheric, unsettling… There are quite a few adjectives you could use when describing the BBC’s creeping Welsh crime drama Craith/Hidden. There you go – there’s another one – ‘creeping’. You’d be hard pushed to call it exciting or action-packed, however. Hidden builds its entertainment in rich, believable characters, beautifully decrepit locales and high tension. Well, they did until episode 7. Where everything went a bit Hollywood.

That’s no criticism of the thing, though. The story has been building up to something of a crescendo for some time and things are really starting to happen now. For a drama that’s built its foundations mostly on shifty looks and people talking softly in rooms, they manage to pull off action with surprising aplomb. We’ll get into what went down in Hidden episode 7 and its showy big final scenes shortly…

At one point in this week’s instalment, DI Cadi John’s partner Owen confessed to being a little adrift. Swept up in having a child and buying a new house in his hometown in North Wales, he admitted to feeling more than a little cornered. He feels a bit trapped. It’s a nicely played-out scene and you feel real warmth, affection and empathy for Owen as he tells the story. Albeit that sympathy is fairly short lived when you realise how his ‘feeling trapped’ pales into insignificance when compared to how Megan must be feeling given she’s rather literally trapped under a crumbling old house in the woods by an utter psychopath.

Well, the gig’s up for that psychopath, Dylan Harris. Finally the case was solved and Harris’ identity uncovered when PC Mari James finally got around to clueing Cadi into her suspicions. Cadi and the team cross-referenced his details against the list of former workers at the reclamation yard and old classmates of the red pick-up’s owner William Parry and there he was. At last they had their man.

That man is someone we had been waiting to hear more about for some weeks now. Hidden has been smart and interesting in that it told us The Bad Guy from the very beginning, so it’s been less a whodunit and more of a whydunit. The big mystery being ‘what had driven him to such depravity?’ Well, this week we finally found out. Unsurprisingly, abuse from his vile mother featured pretty high up the list.

As the noose tightened and the police saddled up to be the cavalry for kidnapped Megan, she was presented with a chance to escape from Dylan’s ethereal and otherworldly young daughter Nia. Resigned, she thinks, to a life of misery on the farm, she sees the opportunity to free Megan, almost like a bird with its wing trapped. Grabbing the key in a particularly nerve-wracking scene, she manages to let Megan out, but refuses to join her on her attempted escape.

Unfortunately for both, Dylan spots the fleeing abductee and quickly catches up. Heartbreak quickly turns to joy for Megan though when she makes it out onto the road and is greeted by a fleet of police cars. Nia is taken away to be rehomed, Iona is taken into custody and Dylan? Well, he makes it away…

Which is where we’ll pick back up next week for the eighth and final piece of the Hidden puzzle. Will Cadi get her man? We’re sure he can’t stay hidden for long.

Did you catch Craith/Hidden episode 7? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of Hidden episode 8 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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Hidden episode 8 review

WARNING: contains spoilers. Still catching up on Hidden episode 8? Read Steve’s review of episode 7 here.

From its outset, Hidden sets out its stall with no apology. Girls are going missing in rural northern Wales and turning up dead some time later. And we know who the killer is. The police don’t know, but the audience at home does. It’s the creepy slender man silhouette of a certain Dylan Harris, a loner figure from the woods played with a clever mixture of naivety and evil by Rhodri Meilir. So there’s been no Broadchurch-style guess-the-killer hijinks for the watching public at home. Something that actually comes as a blessed relief.

Consider most whodunits. 75% of the action is, effectively, focused on unimportant characters. These peripheral characters’ plotlines seem vital when you’re watching them but, at the end of proceedings, they’re really not. Given that the person wasn’t the killer. And what do you see of the actual killer? Often just a few shifty glances here and there and a rushed explanation of their motives at the climax. Hidden’s USP is that, while there’s no fun guessing game, there are hours and hours of character background and development for the antagonist – aka the most interesting person in the piece…

Episode 8 saw no grand reveal, as we could assume; it was all about the manhunt. Could DI Cadi John, her partner Owen Vaughan and half of the police in Wales track Harris down? Well, yes. They could. Not that he was an exactly expert at going on the lam. He merely holed up at a known associate’s house and shut the curtains after stabbing him in the stomach with a screwdriver during an abortive 4×4 theft. He eventually took off in the Range Rover but didn’t get far. When faced with police, Dylan took the coward’s way out and threw himself off a bridge, rather than face justice. It was an incident Cadi had no issue telling Harris’ uncooperative and unrepentant mother Iona all about. While obviously rather sombre in tone, there was something glorious about the scene. Harris tips himself over the edge as if relenting somehow, allowing the Snowdonian landscape to gladly gobble him up.

It was a fitting end to the main story and one which summed up many of the series’ major themes: desperation, guilt, anger, hopelessness, alienation and violence.

Meilir is terrific here, as he was across the entire series. As is the brilliant Gillian Elisa as his domineering and vile mother Iona. Honourable mentions also go to Gwyneth Keyworth as the hidden Megan Ruddock and Sian Reese-Williams as Cadi, with the latter putting in a particularly subtle and clever performance throughout. But the star of the show has to be the decrepit old cottage that’s home to the Harris family, a foreboding building which was actually purpose built for the series. It’s chilling and evocative of pure horror, far scarier than the monstrous family it houses.

Hidden seems to have flown under the majority of people’s radars these past few months. Making its debut on Welsh television and then occupying BBC Four’s Saturday night foreign language spot (due to half of the programme being in Welsh with English subtitles) didn’t help attract the audience it perhaps deserved. The creators are to be applauded for their use of Welsh, yet one can’t help feeling that without it, BBC One may well have picked it up and trebled its audience.

Still, for us discerning crime drama fans, we don’t need conversations around the water cooler the next day at work. We’re happy enough with high-quality crime drama and that’s precisely what we got from Hidden/Craith over these eight weeks.

We’ve been treated to a nice healthy slice of Cymru Noir these past few years, with the BBC very much at the forefront of the new wave of slick Welsh crime dramas. Hinterland has probably made the biggest impact on TV, catch-up and streaming services, but there have been plenty of others that have stood out too, like Requiem and Keeping Faith.

Given its scheduling and lack of fanfare there are plenty of people out there that have missed out on the honest and simple storytelling and frill-free approach that made Hidden one of the year’s best TV dramas yet. If you’ve got a friend who appreciates quality television, you’ve almost got a moral duty to alert them to this little gem on iPlayer. So spread the word.

Did you catch Craith/Hidden episode 8? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

9 Comments

    I am watching episode 8 on series one and this show is excellent. The writing, production value and especially the acting is top notch !
    I wish we had more shows like this in the US.

    Absolutely incredible. Writing, scenery, acting and subtlety with no over- indulgence. Binge watched it over two days due to finding it so late (and by chance) on iPlayer. Megan was brilliant, as was Nia. Can’t wait to see more from these brilliant writers. Thank you. From someone who rarely watches anything!

    I mostly enjoyed it, in a grim kind of way; but in this final episode I just couldn’t switch off the little voice of reason in my head saying “Where are the tracker dogs? You’ve got a violent killer on the run, on foot, in the woods – why on earth wouldn’t you track him down in minutes flat, never mind giving him the time to do a slow murder and long self-justification at his next door neighbour’s house?” I know rural policing suffers from under-resourcing, but that’s ridiculous!

    Loved this series and discovering the reasons why he did it rather than the usual who did it. Location and set superb. Although hard to watch at times; the grizzly details shared during the investigation creating images in my head that I’d rather not have seen, I was gripped. The main characters, namely Dylan and mother, were particularly well portrayed.
    Best series I’ve seen on the BBC for s considerable time.

    I loved it. The disturbing atmosphere and the fact that I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the killer right up to the end made it one to remember. Brilliant acting, left me wanting more.

    Could not fault it. Stunning scripts, direction and acting. Well don, Beeb!

    Excellent series, strong believable characters and a great storyline that had me hooked within seconds. Hoping there will be a second series.

    Excellent series, which I stumbled on by accident. The bleak setting and atmosphere and the building up of tension has made Hidden one of the best crime series this year. I have told friends and family about it and hope it reaches the wider audience as it deserves.

    Brilliant. Storyline superb, well acted, scenery beautiful. Can’t wait for more from these talented creators.

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