Every Parent’s Fear…Every Captive’s Nightmare: “Thirteen” TV Series Review


For parents of children of any age, their minds are always in overdrive 24/7. Their subconscious plays out scenarios every day, if certain events were to occur that would put their loved ones in danger. These worries are created not only by the natural need for parents to protect their young, but mostly due to an understandable fear that something or someone terrible may put them in danger, which they have no control over.

We are surrounded by images, newspaper articles and TV reports each year of missing children, whom were happily living their lives, until they disappeareed without a trace. We see the headlines… Search Continues…Still No Leads…They Simply Vanished…Where Were The Parents?…and we get sucked in. We sometimes forget how the lives of those involved are affected and our blame relies on media coverage.

Names like Elisabeth Fritzl, Jaycee Lee Dugard, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus remind us of cases were victims have escaped from the clutches of their captors…and then there are those who are never seen again. We find us silently asking ourselves…WHO WAS TO BLAME? Did the victim go willingly with their kidnapper, were they even a stranger, could the parents have prevented this disappearance, did the family & neighbours of the criminal have any knowledge of what was happening and most of all, how ever did they escape after such a prolonged period of captivity.


This is where I introduce you to the fantastic five part BBC TV series THIRTEEN. If this genre of TV drama intrigues you and you are looking for a show that will make you look at a child’s disappearance from both a parent and a investigators point of view…then this series is what you have been waiting for.

Click HERE to watch the teaser trailer of the TV series.

Thirteen, a British TV drama, written by Marnie Dickens, is set in Bristol and centres around the fictional character of IVY MOXAM, played by amazingly talented, Liverpool actress Jodie Comer. The story opens up, showing a girl escaping from captivity after being held prisoner for 13 years in the basement of a terraced house, in a built up residential area. As soon as she breathes in the fresh air of freedom, she panics and sets off in search for help. Frightened, unaware of her surroundings and desperate to get home, she finally discovers a telephone box and dials 999. The distress call is answered and Ivy, now 26 years old, explains to the operator how she was abducted from her small village after skipping school at the age of 13. She was held as a prisoner by this unknown attacker for 13 years, and has only now got the opportunity to escape and inform the authorities.

Now, to not risk ruining the fantastic series that it is…all that I will tell you is this. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED. Jodie Comer plays the character of Ivy with such emotion, skill and raw passion that you cannot help but be drawn in by her in every scene. She is perfect in helping the viewers to see the pain and fear she has for everything that has happened to her. But she is exceptional when showing us the secretive and elusive side to her character.

However, much credit must be also given to Valene Kane, who plays the character of D.S Lisa Merchant, who along with her police partner is set the task of finding Ivy’s on-the-run kidnappper, but also the job of delving into the thirteen years of Ivy’s life that nobody knows anything about. Valene Kane, who actually hales from my home city of Newry, County Down in Ireland, plays her role with such power, strength and determination. Throughout the show you are cheering her on in her pursuit of Ivy’s abductor, and is phenomenal with her no-nonsense attitude in questioning Ivy’s ever-confusing stories of her life in the basement.

For people, like myself, who find crime shows and documentaries fascinating, this series has it all. It is perfect in showing the viewers how a child’s disappearance paints everybody as criminals; the closest relatives first. It portrays how relationships may break down and become irreparable as a result of these terrible occurrences. But the reason why I loved this show as much as I did, was because it did not focus entirely on the criminals psyche, like many shows do. It delves into areas that other kidnap shows shy away from, such as what happened during their captivity, what circumstances led to the victim finally being able to escape, what is the victim not revealing to the authorities and how can we unveil those hidden details before it is too late, and another child is abducted.

If you want to check out this show for yourself, and enjoy it as much as I have done, you can watch it online via the BBC iPlayer by clicking HERE.

You can also purchase the series box-set online, if you are looking for that certain birthday present, an upcoming Christmas gift or even something to treat yourself to on these cold autumn evenings.

If you are from Ireland or the UK, you can purchase the DVD by clicking HERE.

If you are from Canada or the US, you can purchase the DVD by clicking HERE.

imageAs a final note, Jodie Comer and Valene Kane, are the cream of the crop among the actresses of our times. Jodie can be also seen as Chloe Gemell in My Mad Fat Diary, and is soon to be the lead character of Elizabeth of York, Queen of England in the adaption of Philippa Gregory’s novel The White Princess.

imageValene on the other hand can be seen as the character Rose Stagg on the ever popular suspense series The Fall. She is also set to hit international stardom when she steps out in December 2016 as the character Lyra Erso, in the new Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.


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