Locked Up is a fe­male prison melo­drama that, if it were a book, would be the sort of page-turner you’d keep in the bath­room for light read­ing. A huge hit in its na­tive Spain, where it’s known as Vis a Vis, it’s gritty and grim – about the only thing bright about it are the yel­low over­alls worn by the women in the gun-metal colours of Cruz del Sur prison.

Of course, Orange Is The New Black is the ob­vi­ous com­par­i­son, but Sea­son 1 of this Span­ish pot­boiler sac­ri­fices that show’s dark hu­mour for docu-style real­ism and cliffhanger in­ten­sity. Mag­gie Ci­van­tos plays Macarena Fer­reiro, Locked Up’s luck­less lead, a for­mer ac­coun­tant sen­tenced to seven years af­ter be­ing framed by her wealthy boss/ boyfriend for cor­po­rate fraud.

Nat­u­rally, this mid­dle­class new­bie is ter­ri­fied on the in­side, not least af­ter her bunk­mate is mur­dered (death by steam­ing – grue­some) and she’s ac­costed by the prison’s big­wig in­mate, Zulema (Na­jwa Nimri). True, it lapses into women-in-prison cliché at times, but Ci­van­tos’ in­no­cence-to-ex­pe­ri­ence arc across the sea­son is adeptly played. Lock it in.

There wasn’t very much of a choice in the prison pet shop.

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