sat 20/07/2024

Wolf, BBC One review - a load of old | reviews, news & interviews

Wolf, BBC One review - a load of old...

Wolf, BBC One review - a load of old...

Credulity-stretching adaptation of Mo Hayder's Jack Caffery novel

Conflicted copper: Ukweli Roach as DI Jack Caffery

Adapted by Megan Gallagher from one of Mo Hayder’s Jack Caffery novels (the seventh one, apparently), Wolf might be described as Welsh Gothic, spiced up with a splash of gratuitous sadism. Episode two, for instance, is titled merely “Torture”, which might apply to some of the acting as much as the dramatic content.

Not that it doesn’t have its fair share of notable thesps. Somehow they’ve lured Juliet Stevenson aboard as Matilda Anchor-Ferrers, preparing to be scared to death as she, her husband Oliver (Owen Teale) and daughter Lucia (Annes Elwy, all pictured below) find themselves the targets of a pair of sneering, cold-blooded… well, you have to wait a while to find out exactly what they are. But they’re certainly not the police detectives they pose as when they knock on the door of the Anchor-Ferrers’ agreeable Monmouthshire mansion.

The story pivots around a stomach-turning crime known as the Donkey Pitch Murders, in which, five years earlier, teenagers Sophie and Hugo were hunted down by a man wearing a Hazmat suit and gas mask. Or... was it really only one man? Then, among the ruins of some mouldering medieval-looking structure, they were disembowelled and had their entrails hung on a tree. Tasteful. A man called Minnet Kable was arrested and confessed to the crimes, and is now in jail. But why is it that, on the anniversary of the killings, somebody has mocked up a ghastly facsimile of the murder scene in the Anchor-Ferrers’ garden?Wolf, BBC OneSince the story is from the Jack Caffery books, logic dictates that it must be DI Jack Caffery who finds himself in the midst of the action. In approved TV-detective style, Caffery (Ukweli Roach) has his own burden of emotional trauma that he carries around with him. This is the disappearance of his younger brother Ewan 25 years earlier, never to be seen again. Jack harbours a grim conviction that his paedophile neighbour Ivan Penderecki (Anthony Webster) was the perpetrator, but though this Penderecki can often be seen leering malevolently at Jack through his window, there’s a distinct whiff of red herring about him.

None of the moving parts of this show feel that they’re really connected to each other, though whether that’s by accident or by design is not entirely clear. For instance, there’s Jack’s bedside manner. Visiting Ella, a hideously-battered wife recovering in hospital, Jack torments the poor woman by spelling out in almost pornographic detail all the horrific head injuries she’s bound to suffer if she fails to give him a statement, and the way her head and body will be sawn up by the pathologist after her death.Wolf, BBC OneNot surprisingly, Jack’s private life is not an advertisement for emotional well-being and harmony. His partner Veronica (Kezia Burrows) despairs of the way Jack treats his absent brother’s room as a shrine that must not be touched. Her tactic of telling him (falsely) that she’s suffering a recurrence of cancer in order to trigger a shake-up in their relationship is a milestone moment in TV implausibility.

But “realism” isn’t really on the agenda here, as the Anchor-Ferrers’ intensely irritating home invaders make clear. Posing as DS Molina (Iwan Rheon) and DI Honey (Sacha Dhawan, both pictured above), these two frolic around the house, smirking and gibbering complete nonsense, as though they’re in a surrealist free-movement class. Honey takes the shark-jumping prize for the farcical scene where he mimes along to Figaro’s aria from The Barber of Seville, brandishing a sword which he plunges into… no, that would be telling. The only sensible one in this whole farrago is the Anchor-Ferrers' little white terrier. All six episodes are up now on BBC iPlayer, if you’re brave enough.


I don't think the critic found a story that didn't fit their Harlan Coben preferred plot easy to follow. The rest of us are glad of something that isn't formulaic. And the actors were well up for it.

Wolf was the worst most innane waste of BBC fees ever presented - it is just total drivel

I couldn't agree more, a colostomy bag of a drama, a bag of sxxxe. 

I loved it, you can never please all the critics, so if any one involved in the making of this work reads this review, just imagine them having their face peeled off.. 

'Wolf' was brutal last night, but I am hooked on it, as the story unravels with several other threads imploding throughout. Strong cast, including the wonderful Juliet Stevenson & DI Jack Caffrey who has demons of his own, but nonetheless is the sane voice running throughout the narrative. Molina & Honey (who is anything but 'Sweet') parade their proclivities to the max, slowly taunting their captives as the story continues to unravel. I am loving the difficult narrative which reached a crescendo with the delivery of Figaro, leaving on a knife's edge.... Will the Cavalry arrive in time? This drama escapes the straight forward narrative but is riveting to watch...

We are hooked too. We don't expect it to be credible, but are loving Juliet Stevenson's performance and the sometimes Laurel and Hardy double act of the sadistic duo. Much more entertaining than generic believably sadistic scandi-twaddle?

I agree, I am hooked too on this and finding it enthralling. Will probably bing watch over the next few days. 

I have just watched 2 episodes and it is rubbish. Not frightening at all. I thought the acting was not very good as well.. Now the Sixth Commandment was brilliant.

Stupid, childish waste of time. Very disjointed . BBC we want a refund! B programme

I loved Wolf. Great acting by the actors and although it was brutal to watch some scenes I ended up watching all six episodes over two nights. Totally a different style to the other detective crime thrillers but totally enjoyable, I even spotted the killer early on but not the twist till the end. Brilliant


I agree loved it, binge watched over 11/2 days hooked right from the start great acting best thing for a loooong time .

Utter tripe - Kill Bill meets Midsomer Murders .

As an elderly viewer (79)I believe the BBC should have given a pre warning that I may find the content disturbing. ( I did) I will watch no more episodes, I don't care a jot about what happens any of them. After the brilliance of "The Sixth Commandment" this so called drama is just not worth any more of my time.

Wolf is excellent. Brutal but at times amusing and the plot keeps evolving. Perhaps too much so for the reviewer to handle. Better stick to reviewing kids' programmes in future.

Load of rubbish, following on from 'The Sixth Commandment' makes it moreso. I'm surprised at Juliet Stevenson accepting this part! Is she short on coffers? None of it is joined up, it's gratuitous violence and I don't know what's going on. Given up. Shame on you BBC.

Awful. Horrific. Why am I paying a licence fee? Absolute rubbish!


Brilliant! Acting and dialogue is excellent. Verging on Clockwork Orange mixed with Joe Orton black comedy. Just sit back and enjoy. 


I really just dont get what it's about. I found it very disturbing and not sure I can carry on watching. Not just me, my husband and 2 colleagues of the same view. Umm




If you've ever read Mo Hayder Jack Caffrey books, you'll know this is the norm.  A very talented lady, sadly passed now. Give them a try. I've read them all. 

Having been a fan of Mo Hayder books, which are excellent suspense crime thrillers.

I am struggling with the adaptation of Wolf. I'm  finding it very disjointed and not a suspenseful as the book.  In my opinion I think if TV were to turn Mo Hayder books into a series from Birdman I personally think they would be onto a winner. 

I'm 77 and I loved it.

I loved it-very brutal and macabre in places but I thought the acting was superb. Lots of different threads and twists and turns.  I did not forsee the conclusion - I'm usually quite good but it wasn't until the last episode all was revealed. I haven't read any of the author's books but intend to 

Riveting. Admittedly a slow burn but just when you think you know who the murderer is, everything is turned on it's head. It really is suspenseful. Makes me want to read Mo's other books.


Awful, boring, terrible acting - especially the family of hostages. Plot is all over the place, about 4 episodes too many.  Utter waste of time, started to watch it and ended up willing it to end. Pointless.

So wanted this to be good , one of the worst shows ever written and appalling acting from a good cast , I'm guessing it was a pay check for them. This is the first time I have left a review that's how bad I found this .. was there a story ? 

just awful. Hammy acting, disjointed narrative. 1/5

Yes I was so looking forward to this drama with its great cast , nicely filmed but all too soon I was hating it big time. Tried again. but I really was not enjoying or engaged in this muddle of mess.

So it's a definite NO from me 

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