Slow Horses review – Gary Oldman is great in Apple TV+ adaptation of Mick Herron’s novel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Apple TV+ have been creating a great deal of really brilliant television in the last few months. There’s WeCrashed starring Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway in the story of the founding of the office space company, WeWork. Then there’s The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey which sees Samuel L Jackson put in one of the best performances of his career as a 93 year-old man with dementia. And that’s before we consider the epic and brilliant Korean story of Pachinko and Ben Stiller’s mind-bending and note-perfect Severance. In short, the quality of their content just hasn’t let up in recent times and there’s even more to look forward to very soon.

The only thing that’s been missing, you might say, if you are a British viewer (like me) is something based in Britain. Enter Slow Horses, a classy and beautifully executed spy drama that couldn’t feel more British if you served it with a Yorkshire pudding and a pint of best bitter.

What is Slow Horses about?

The show is based around the nicknamed “Slow Horses”, a division of MI5 that operate out of Slough House. These people have been sent there because they have made serious mistakes or are deemed unable to do the work of the main security service. Immediately you have a classic British story of class and underdog. The people of Slough House go about their boring business under the watchful, cynical and perfectly brilliant command of Jackson Lamb, played with utter brilliance by Gary Oldman.

But not everyone has decided that they are going to give up on their dreams of being a serious player in the world of MI5, not least River Cartwright (played by Jack Lowden). He may have very publicly made a serious mistake (which you will see play out at the beginning of the first episode) but he believes that he can redeem himself and still be a great spy. This case is helped by the fact that his grandfather (played by Jonathan Pryce) was one of the best, and hopefully can continue to pull strings to get him back where he wants to be.

When a British Pakistani student is taken hostage by a far right terror group who threaten to behead him on the internet if their demands are not met, the Slow Horses move to a canter as some of them realise they could do something to help this tragedy from unfolding.

At the heart of this show is a classic British spy drama, with twists, turn, espionage and plenty of dark humour. It’s everything you’d hope it will be – and a little bit more.

Is it based on the book Slow Horses?

Yes, the series is based on Mick Herron’s novel of the same name. Therefore the programme will have fans before it even airs on TV, but it will please anyone who enjoys this genre of spy television from start to finish regardless of whether they’re familiar with the original work.

How can I watch Slow Horses?

Slow Horses is available to watch on Apple TV+ from April 1 2022 wherever you are. And with all the other quality shows being produced by the streamer nowadays, even if you haven’t got the service already, it’s definitely worth a trail to see what all the fuss is about!

Tim Glanfield

Tim Glanfield is a journalist, editor and broadcaster with more than 15 years experience writing about television, film and the entertainment business. He has been editor of RadioTimes.com, a writer for The Times (of London) and the Guardian as well as a freelance contributor to newspapers, magazines and websites across the world. He is author of the book Digital Economy or Bust: The Story of a New Media Startup and makes regular appearances on TV and radio in the UK.

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