‘National Treasure’

A four part miniseries, National Treasure, buoyed by a strong cast, explores the deeply contentious subject of accusations of historical rape and sexual abuse.

Paul Finchley (Robbie Coltrane), a TV game-show presenter and one half of a popular, long-running comedy double act with Karl Jenkins (Tim McInnerny), finds his life turned upside down when the police turn up at his front door. A woman has accused him of historical rape more than 25 years earlier when she was just 15. Newspaper headlines bring forward more accusations.

Based loosely on a series of UK police investigations into a number of television and radio personalities around 2010, National Treasure and it’s focus is primarily on Coltrane and his family rather than the survivors. A serial philanderer, Finchley has placed his wife of 40 years ((Julie Walters) in an unenviable position on too many occasions. But each time, she has chosen to stay with him. The question now is can their marriage survive this latest test: does she believe his adamant denial? And with so much in the air, their daughter (Andrea Riseborough), a recovering addict, questions whether she has repressed events of her past..

High in quality with assured performances but somewhat grim in content, National Treasure looks to the impact both of the accusations and the family grappling with the news. There’s no question Finchley is – and was – a sleaze bag and sexual predator. But is he guilty?

Rating: 58%

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