Enthralling new drama series ‘Lie With Me’!

Monday: Lie With Me; (Channel 5, 9pm)

Charlie Brooks – best known as the scheming, murderous Janine from EastEnders – is back on our screens, this time as an unhappy British woman who moves to her husband’s home country of Australia in a bid to give her marriage a fresh start.

She plays Anna Fallmont in Channel 5’s enthralling new drama series Lie With Me, which promises to keep viewers guessing as it plays out across four episodes this week.

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Fellow soap star Brett Tucker, 49, (who played Dan Fitzgerald in Neighbours) appears alongside 40-year-old Brooks as Anna’s husband Jake, while the third lead in the suburban noir thriller is newcomer Phoebe Roberts as Becky Hart.

In the first episode, soon after relocating to a large, opulent property near Melbourne, the Fallmonts hire a local nanny called Becky to live with them and look after their two small children so that Anna can pick up her career on the other side of the world. Becky appears to be an innocent stranger in their home, but the truth is far more complicated.

Although the couple want to leave their troubles far behind in Britain, forgetting and forgiving past mistakes turns out to be even harder than breaking ties and events take a deadly turn.

Anna, like any person newly arrived in a different land, is desperate to find reassurance and community in a place where she knows no one. The isolation of a large house and the implicit threat to the relationship by the presence of a third, younger person feeds into the undercurrent of paranoia rippling through a classic ‘fish out of water’ situation.

With the spectre of infidelity still looming over her relationship with Jake, Anna befriends and confides in the young nanny, sharing her fears about the fact her husband has resumed his secretive behaviour once again. But she doesn’t realise that Becky already knows a lot more than she is letting on.

While on the surface Anna appears to be the victimised wife, Brooks’s association with Janine knowingly infuses Anna with a chilling potential about her own capabilities. Indeed, Brooks is set to return to Albert Square as the four-times-married, three-times-widowed daughter of Frank Butcher later this year after seven years away from Walford.

So, the viewers’ sympathies are constantly pulled in different directions as the plot twists and turns, with gunshots, suggestions of domestic abuse and unexplained pieces of jewellery to puzzle over.

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Lie With Me is the latest offering in a strong genre of family-focused noir series, following 2018 Australian-British mystery drama The Cry and 2020’s psychological thriller The Secrets She Keeps, which was set in Sydney. Its creator Jason Herbison is the Neighbours series producer and brings his expertise in capturing attention to this show.

Director Scott Major uses the wide, dramatic Australian landscape to play on the cliches and associations that a British audience may harbour about what life is like Down Under. As Anna says ominously in the trailer: “This country is full of things that can kill you.”

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