Jack O’Connell faces down Stephen Graham in a rousing drama that requires no deep thought and provides fathomless fun

It is September, and time for the televisual equivalent of 40 denier tights, sweaters and defiantly unsalady food at last. BBC Two has provided it, in the form of five-part series The North Water, directed by Andrew Haigh and adapted by him from Ian McGuire’s book of the same name.

It’s got just what you need as the nights draw in. The plot is a meaty, satisfying stew that is not going to trouble your mental digestion. We are in Hull in 1859 and we open with a group of boys poking a dead dog with sticks, and a sexual tryst between a man and a lady of the night. The man in question is a black-hearted drunkard named Henry Drax (Colin Farrell, burdened by the kind of wig that should have been outlawed by the Hague by now).

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