Fun turns to fear as friends fight for sur­vival

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

Some men dread com­ing back from a stag week­end with a stink­ing hang­over, shaved eye­brows or an empty bank bal­ance, but the rev­ellers fea­tured in this new dark comic thriller will be lucky to come back at all. Stag (Satur­day, BBC2, 9pm), a three-part se­ries, was writ­ten and cre­ated by Jim Field Smith and Ge­orge Kay, who be­tween them have worked on The Wrong Mans, Episodes, The Tun­nel and The Hour, sug­gest­ing they should have both the com­edy and the thriller el­e­ments well cov­ered. They’ve cer­tainly man­aged to assem­ble an im­pres­sive cast - Jim How­ick, Stephen Camp­bell Moore, JJ Feild, Reece Shear­smith, Ru­fus Jones, James Cosmo and Tim Key are among the fa­mil­iar faces who turned up to film on lo­ca­tion in Scot­land. The week­end is al­ready shap­ing up to be a night­mare for Ian, (How­ick), a veg­e­tar­ian sec­ondary school teacher who doesn’t like drink­ing or blood sports and has lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence of deal­ing with peo­ple who went to pri­vate school. How­ever, his sis­ter Fran (Sher­lock’s Amanda Ab­bing­ton) is mar­ry­ing Har­row-ed­u­cated hedge fund man­ager An­gus ‘John­ners’ John­son (Camp­bell Moore), and Ian has been in­vited on the stag do by the ar­ro­gant best man Ledge (Feild), who had some spa­ces to fill af­ter a few of his first choice in­vi­tees ei­ther dropped out or failed to re­ply to their emails. Sadly, Ian can’t re­ally come up with a de­cent ex­cuse to get out of it as he’s promised Fran he’ll keep an eye on her fi­ancé, so it looks like he’s go­ing to be spend­ing the week­end stalk­ing deer in the Scot­tish High­lands, whether he likes it or not. The teacher feels out of his depth among John­ners’ob­nox­ious friends, and it’s soon clear that while Ledge may fancy him­self as the group’s Al­pha male, his or­gan­i­sa­tional skills leave a lot to be de­sired. But the re­lent­less bul­ly­ing dis­guised as ban­ter and lack of equip­ment are soon the least of Ian’s wor­ries, as the hun­ters be­come the prey. Some­one – or some­thing – is lurk­ing in the trees, ready to pick off the party one at a time. As the stags re­alise they are fight­ing for the lives, friend­ships are tested, sor­did se­crets emerge, and some very un­likely al­liances are forged. As My­fanwy Moore, Con­troller of UK Com­edy Pro­duc­tion at BBC, says:“Jim and Ge­orge have cre­ated a rip roar­ing com­edy thriller – and we're de­lighted that such a fab­u­lous cast have agreed to join in on what will no doubt be a ter­ri­fy­ingly funny ride.

Wild times Stephen Camp­bell Moore and Jim How­ick.

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