I just watched this, two episodes, two hours back to back. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. George Cole is not the star of the show but has quite a big supporting role as a pensioner called George, who befriends an friendly elderly lady at residential home called Lilian (played by Anna Massey) - pictured.
George is on top form in a sort of supportive detective role in this. He even gets to drive a Jag in part two.
'The Sleeper' is a very good story about two sisters from a patchwork family in the 1930s. When the mother of the family falls from a building, her natural daughter is blamed for her death and her step-father and step-sister are all split up. However, the real truth of the mother's death lies elsewhere and we're hooked as to found out why. Fast forward 60 years and through a chance meeting the sisters cross paths again around Christmas time, where the sister guilty of murder decides the truth must be told.
All set around Paignton, the whole story has a very supernatural feel to it - there are black & white flashbacks, ouija boards, freak accidental occurences, underhanded attempts at murder and even a séance. Don't let that put you off though, for me this could easily have been a story from 'Thriller', 'Hammer House Of Mystery & Suspense' or a nasty 'Tales Of The Unexpected' - very good with a few killings thrown in.
There is some superb acting in this - the star of the show is Eileen Atkins who plays one of the sisters called Violet Moon. She is a right nasty piece of work. The other sister Cath is played superbly by Elizabeth Spriggs. Even the ever lovely former Eastender Michelle Collins puts in a decent performance in this.
Minder connections too - actor Ian McNeice turns up in part two, a familar face from two episodes of Minder - 'Rocky Eight & A Half' and 'All Quiet On The West End Front'. Christine Kavanagh, also in 'Rocky Eight & A Half' as Nicky in the job centre also appears in this.
There are a few moments of comedy to lighten up proceedings, once or twice giving residential home pensioners a few out of the ordinary things to do. There is also a sad theme as we wonder elderly people do when they have no family at Christmas.
This is definitely worth investing two hours in, especially over Christmas as the whole thing is set on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. If you like any of the shows mentioned above, this is a must see in my opinion.
10/10 - great stuff!
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Daley & McCann are, as good as, holding hands, on the exercise yard, in the scrubs.