Sherwood review: BBC thriller is one of the best British dramas of 2022

David Morrissey, Joanne Froggatt and Lesley Manville are part of the incredible ensemble cast in this brooding Nottinghamshire crime drama, inspired in part by real-life events.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 28 March 2023 - 2.26am
BBC LIndsay Duncan and David Morrissey in BBC drama Sherwood

As the British summertime finally begins to emerge and most TV schedules go to sleep for a couple of months while the nation becomes transfixed by Love Island frolics, the arrival of six-part thriller Sherwood on BBC One couldn't be more perfectly timed.

Created by East Midlands-born writer James Graham (Quiz, Brexit: The Uncivil War), Sherwood is a brooding, intense and devastating drama that explores the fractures and divisions in a small Nottingham mining village that are resurfaced by a shocking murder.

This six-part thriller avoids whodunnit or whydunit tropes, focusing instead on the characters, real lives and shattered communities that were left behind by the miners’ strike and how old wounds are easily reopened.

The ludicrously good cast continually springs up, ‘oh look, its them!’ moments with Robert Glenister, Alun Armstrong, Adeel Akhtar, Claire Rushbrook, Kevin Doyle, Philip Jackson, Perry Fitzpatrick, Stephen Tompkinson, Adam Hugill and Mark Addy among the recognisable faces in this tightly-knitted community of friends, enemies and secrets.

Drawing parallels between the old debates around the miners strikes and hot topics of 2022 (Brexit, the fall of the Red Wall and ‘levelling up’), Sherwood’s got big ambitions, but Graham’s personal knowledge of the area and events bring balance, heart and authenticity rather than OTT polemic and gritty regional stereotypes.

And when you have David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) as the detective unable to escape his own upbringing, Perry Fitzpatrick (Line of Duty, This is England) as a shifty cab driver and Lesley Manville (Mum) just being Lesley Manville, you’ll understand why Sherwood feels like unmissable event TV for the next three weeks on BBC One. verdict

4 star out of 5 rating

How to watch Sherwood

Sherwood airs on BBC One on Monday and Tuesdays at 9pm.

Catch up on BBC iPlayer.

Joanne Froggatt as Sarah Vincent in Sherwood BBC
  • David Morrissey - Plays DCS Ian St Clair
  • Robert Glenister – Plays DI Kevin Salisbury
  • Alun Armstrong - Plays Gary Jackson
  • Lesley Manville - Plays Julie Jackson
  • Lindsay Duncan - Plays Jennifer Hale
  • Joanne Froggatt (above) – Plays Sarah Vincent
  • Philip Jackson - Plays Mickey Sparrow
  • Lorraine Ashbourne – Plays Daphne Sparrow
  • Perry Fitzpatrick - Plays Rory
  • Claire Rushbrook - Plays Cathy Rowley
  • Kevin Doyle - Plays Fred Rowley
  • Adam Hugill – Plays Scott
  • Adeel Akhtar – Plays Andy Fisher
  • Bally Gill - Plays Neel
  • Stephen Tompkinson - Plays Warnock
  • Mark Addy - Plays Ron