The Driver, BBC1, review: Another midlife crisis for David Morrissey

Morrissey's new character is abused, ignored and insulted on a routine basis

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The Independent Culture

David Morrissey is on his second midlife crisis of the year and it's still only September. Earlier this year he played a middle-aged married man making some bad decisions in The 7.39 and now he's playing another, cab driver Vince McKee in BBC1's new three-part drama The Driver.

"The thing I don't get," said one puzzled character to Vince, "You're Mr Ordinary one day and then the next, not. How does that work out?" It's a question that might equally apply to many of Morrissey's performances and it was answered here by a neatly circular narrative and some modestly impressive performances.

It's not just the boredom of married life Vince seeks to escape, as a cabbie, he's abused, ignored and insulted on a routine basis. His customers include drunks spewing in the back of his cab, fare evaders and an old man who offers up his colostomy bag for emptying. At home, he's greeted by a cold wife, a sneering daughter and the mysterious absence of his son. Even his old childhood friend, Colin (Ian Hart) recently released from prison on an armed robbery charge believes Vince took a wrong turn.

You'd quite understand if this taxi driver shaved his hair into a mohican and started talking to himself in the mirror. As it is, Liverpool's answer to Travis Bickle is less of a show-off and there was a welcome strain of downbeat humour running through even the more tense scenes. Vince saw straight through the pretensions of his new employer, the "philosophy"-spouting Horse (Colm Meaney), who keeps a book called Greatest Inspirational Quotes in the loo.

Another of his associates was a motormouth, who seemed impelled to divulge the answers to questions Vince had been careful not to ask. This humour does mean that so far The Driver's grey, mundane days are more believable than its dark menacing nights, but there are two episodes yet to come.