Last night's viewing: Hit & Miss, Sky Atlantic; My Big Fat Fetish, Channel 4


You can tell that Hit & Miss is going to be a cut above from what it chooses to surprise you with. The central character, Mia, is a hired killer. She’s not the first female assassin we’ve seen on screen by a long shot, but this combination of gender and profession is still unusual enough that a more conventional series might tease you with the reveal. We’d see Mia touching up her lipstick first, say, and be allowed to coast with our preconceptions for a while before she stepped out of the car and shot her first victim. Here, it happens the other way around.

Mia isn’t an ordinary woman, though, as we discover when she strips for the shower just a little later. What’s inside her bra is what you might expect. What’s inside her pants is not: Mia has a penis. But this moment too is studiedly matter of fact. Hettie Macdonald frames the revelation as if we’ve noticed but the camera hasn’t – because it isn’t that big a deal. The real surprise, the one that makes Mia herself reel and blink back the tears is the discovery that she’s a father. Or a mother. Or some hybrid of the two that has yet to be worked out.

Along with her payment for that first clinical execution, Mia gets a forwarded letter from Wendy, a women she’d loved when she was still a man. Wendy is dying of cancer and the letter consigns her children to Mia’s care, including a young boy called Ryan, who is Mia’s biological son. And from that moment what Mia does to earn a living is peripheral to the charged drama of her domestic mission (which, crucially, is the kind of mission a lot of viewers are on too). It isn’t going to be easy. The family Mia finds living up on the moors above Manchester is as ramshackle as their smallholding. They are looked after by the aggressively defensive Riley, the oldest sister and a girl made furious by grief. She resents Mia’s intrusion and is determined to push her out again.

 Paul Abbott and Sean Conway’s script is mostly terse and understated, with the occasional flash of romantic colour. One of the most poignant moments, when Ryan learns that Mia had never been told about his existence, is conveyed in just two syllables: “Why not?” he says, a line that is beautifully delivered by Jorden Bennie. Later, though, when Ryan shares with Mia his fear that things are going to change, she reassures him by explaining that without change we would never have butterflies, a line that trembles on the edge of mawkish.

Chloë Sevigny’s performance here may remind some older viewers of Stanley Baxter; there’s something about the combination of exaggerated femininity and dead-pan solemnity that recalls his essays in drag. But given the plot it works, and (having seen episode two) it’s an armour that’s going to peel open. What really charges the drama, though, is the uncertainty about what gender you might assign to Mia’s virtues and vices. When she savagely beats the local bully who’s called for the rent and teaches Ryan to box, is she substituting for a missing father or mother? And when she asks her handler whether the next target has any children, what has been woken in her – a paternal instinct or a maternal one?

There’s a sense that all gender relations have been twisted out of true – into exploitation or violence – and that only the love and security of a family, however odd it is, can put things right. It’s wonderfully unexpected and unpredictable and a debut commission in original drama that Sky Atlantic has every reason to be proud of.

Which is more than you can say for My Big Fat Fetish, a tawdry documentary about subscription websites catering for those with a penchant for obese women. Channel 4 should know better but simply couldn’t stop itself gawping.

Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower