Rain Dogs review, Daisy May Cooper, BBC

Fans of Daisy May Cooper have come to love her “distinct brand of confident fecklessness” from her stellar turns in shows such as This Country and Am I Being Unreasonable?, said Ben Dowell in The Times. “Now, she has gone a step further”, with this “grimy and very British show”, which (perhaps surprisingly) comes from the US broadcaster HBO but is being shown on BBC One.  

Cooper plays Costello, “a single mum and occasional sex worker” whom we meet being evicted from her London flat. She is locked in a love/hate friendship with Selby (Jack Farthing), a “louche, highly privileged homosexual, newly released from prison”, who acts as a father figure to Costello’s daughter, Iris (Fleur Tashjian). There are elements of the series that don’t ring true – Iris is suspiciously “well adjusted” – but Costello is a brilliant creation, and scriptwriter Cash Carraway “vividly” captures “down-at-heel London”. 

Rain Dogs “won’t be for everyone”, but I loved it, said Deborah Ross in The Mail on Sunday. “Billed as a comedy-drama, it is funny but also rude, dark, bruising” and “harrowing”. It’s Cooper’s “most dramatic role to date”, and she proves she is more than up to it: “even when Costello is at her worst, Cooper is capable of displaying the vulnerability underneath”. Farthing, too, is a “revelation”. 

The series “refuses to play out as an anguished, one-dimensional treatise on class and poverty for audiences to sigh and weep over”, said Barbara Ellen in The Observer. Cooper is superb, and it adds up to a “bold, wild-hearted ride.”

Where to watch: BBC iPlayer