BBC acquires star studded Irish crime drama Kin

Saturday: Kin (BBC1, 9.35pm & 10.45pm)
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The crime drama Kin has already been a big hit in Ireland – outside of major sporting events, the season two finale is the most watched programme of 2023 so far.

Now there’s a chance for British audiences to see what they have been missing out as the first season comes to primetime Saturday night BBC1.

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It seems the makers of Kin always had one eye on the international market – the series is a US co-production – but it still keeps its innate sense of place.

Amanda Kinsella, Michael Kinsella, Eamon Cunningham and Frank KinsellaAmanda Kinsella, Michael Kinsella, Eamon Cunningham and Frank Kinsella
Amanda Kinsella, Michael Kinsella, Eamon Cunningham and Frank Kinsella

Speaking at a press event ahead of the first season premiere, star Aidan Gillen said: “There wasn’t a lot of compromises thrown in there in the script in terms of, you know, ‘We’ve really got to water this down so people outside of Ireland – or outside of Dublin, even – understand it’… It’ll be interesting to see what they make of it, and I think it’s going to be totally fine.”

His presence should tip you off to one of Kin’s big selling points – the cast. As well as Game of Thrones veteran Gillen, there are also roles for Clare Dunne (Herself), Charlie Cox (Daredevil), Ciarán Hinds (Game of Thrones), Sam Keeley (The Cured), Emmett J. Scanlan (Peaky Blinders), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Outlander) and newcomer Yasmin Seky.

The series focuses on the Kinsellas, a small crime family who increasingly find themselves at odds with the bigger, more powerful drug cartel run by the Cunninghams.

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In the first episode, when the hot-headed son of family boss Frank Kinsella gets into a violent confrontation with one of the Cunninghams’ men, it leads to a retaliation – and a tragedy.

Then there’s a break for the news, before the opening double bill continues. The family are dealing with the fallout from the events of the first episode as one member, Mikey, is torn between joining Jimmy in a quest for revenge and staying out of the fray.

Meanwhile, Frank is worried that the feud is about to escalate into all-out war – and with good reason as the Kinsellas are definitely the underdogs in this battle.

Will their tight bonds enable them to keep going, even when it seems they are outmanoeuvred, outgunned and in danger of being picked off one by one?

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As you might expect given the subject matter, the drama can be violent, but Dunne, who plays Amanda Kinsella, insists that the series isn’t glamourising the gangster lifestyle.

She told the Irish Independent: “If there’s one word I would associate with violence in Kin it’s consequences.

“We show a thing of fearing for your life and fearing for your children’s lives, and living in a sense of constant lockdown in your own life. Always looking over your shoulder. When playing Amanda, anytime I get in a car, I’m constantly checking over my shoulder and it’s a really stressful way to live, so I wouldn’t say we’re saying it’s great craic.”

But while it may be stressful for the characters and cast, it’s going to be very compelling for the audience…

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