We all have an ever growing list of programmes that we’ve promised ourselves we’ll start watching but never actually do – right? Even so, if you have an ounce of sense you’ll make room for this one… it’s worth committing to, we promise. From one of the writers of hit British drama Skins, comes the dark new BBC 3 thriller, Clique. Set at a university in the picturesque city of Edinburgh, one might expect the series to be a nostalgic reminder of those hazy days we spent enjoying our youth as students. Well, one can think again, because this couldn’t be further from the show’s twisted narrative.
The six-parter follows a diverse group of ambitious female students who have all been accepted onto the prestigious Solasta Women’s Initiative. On the surface, this is an exciting, albeit fiercely competitive, internship programme which is both a strong test of wits and a triumphant celebration of feminism. But behind the enticing façade of glamour and luxury lies a more sinister undercurrent of secrets and scandal. Expect to see scenes of drunken debauchery, drug-fuelled outbursts, and bitchy cat fights alongside harder hitting themes of suicide, sexual assault and even murder (that escalated quickly).
In the opening scene of the first episode, the audience is introduced to the show’s protagonist, Holly McStay and her childhood best friend, Georgia. We are instantly given an insight into the close bond they share, as the pair dance around their halls of residence together singing into hairbrushes in a carefree, childlike manner. As the night unfolds we see Holly taking on a motherly role after her pal has one too many vodka and cokes during the gig they’re at. This quickly establishes Holly as the stronger and more mature of the two. The gig scene also gives us our first glimpse at the elite circle of girls to whom the show’s title refers. The four members of the aforementioned ‘clique’ all appear very confident and self-aware, giving off an unintentional air of superiority. Holly watches them in a trance-like state and they seem equally fascinated by her presence. Their first interaction sees the group helping Holly to get Georgia home safely, in her inebriated state, by simply giving “their guy” a call. Shortly after, the two girls are whisked off by a driver who takes them back to their campus without much of an explanation.
This is one of many bizarre occurrences that the audience bears witness to. In the background of the main plotline, we’re frequently shown disjointed flashbacks of a traumatic event from Holly’s childhood that is somehow linked to what is going on in the present day. It’s all very mysterious and you may still be wondering what the hell’s going on until the last couple of episodes when everything finally starts to fall into place. Despite being somewhat sensationalised and a tad overacted at times, this piece is definitely a gritty and original breath of fresh air. If you’re a fan of dark dramas with a few unexpected twists and turns, then you’ll enjoy this one.
You can find Clique on BBC iPlayer.
Words: Kate Dooley
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