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Common (BBC-1 2014, Nico Mirallegro, Susan Lynch)




Common was a drama set in the north west of England and based on the UK’s controversial Joint Enterprise Law.

Seventeen-year-old Johnjo O’Shea gives his cousin Tony and some mates a last-minute lift in his brother Patrick’s car. They tell him they’re going for pizza, but Johnjo doesn’t know that they’re in fact going to ‘have a word’ with a local loudmouth who needs putting in his place.

As Johnjo waits in the car, one of their number, Kieran, takes offence with an innocent bystander Thomas – who is fatally stabbed.

The murder victim is the eldest child of Margaret and Tommy, who has become estranged from his family after a bitter divorce. Struggling to make ends meet on her own, Margaret is nevertheless determined to give Thomas the send-off he deserves.

When Johnjo’s parents find out about the lift they’re horrified, and concerned for their naive son. As they argue about what he should tell the police, Johnjo makes his own way to the police station and asks for DI Hastings – a career copper used to doing battle with ‘no comment’.

Hastings can’t believe his luck as Johnjo lays the blame squarely with Kieran. However, Hastings wants everyone possible to be tried for murder and with the Joint Enterprise doctrine at his disposal, that includes Johnjo.

In the battle for justice, Johnjo and his family find that not being present at the murder scene is no defence.

production details
UK / BBC-1 / 1×90 minute episodes / Broadcast Sunday 6 July 2014 @ 9.00pm

Writer: Jimmy McGovern / Producer: Colin McKeown / Executive Producers: Jimmy McGovern, Colin McKeown / Director: David Blair

Nico Mirallegro as Johnjo O’Shea
Susan Lynch as Margaret Ward
Jodhi May as Coleen O’Shea
Daniel Mays as Tommy Ward
Andrew Tiernan as Peter O’Shea
Robert Pugh as DI Hastings
Michelle Fairley as Shelagh Wallace
Philip Hill Pearson as Tony Wallace
Andrew Ellis as Kieran Gillespie
Jack McMullen as Colin McCabe
Ben Smith as Patrick O’Shea
Louise Delamere as DC Pearson
Finn Atkins as Karen O’Shea
Samantha Oliver as Julie Ward
Harry McMullen as Thomas Ward
Michael Gambon as Royal Courts Judge