Sky Living’s Bedlam gets off to a strong, spooky start

Well, if you were disheartened by the disaster that was Outcasts tonight, you might have found Sky Living’s Bedlam a pleasant surprise.

The premise of the show is that a former lunatic asylum (is that a politically correct term?) has been converted into a block of luxury apartments. There’s a cast of hot young things who are at the center of the story, headed in part by Will Young who has no plans to leave right now (har har) even after witnessing a haunting…

Let’s give you a quick who’s who: Will Young plays Ryan McAllister, a geeky type whose brother died in a drowning a tear ago. Charlotte Salt plays Kate, the daughter of the property developer who owns Bedlam Heights. Ashley Madekwe plays Kate’s flatmate Molly, while Theo James plays Kate’s cousin Jed – a medium who can see ghosts.

And this is where we make our predictable Ghost Whisperer comparison, because Jed successfully helps a former Bedlam inmate ‘pass over’.

When it comes down to it, Bedlam managed a fairly good ghost story to start off with. Essentially the ghost of a woman who was drowned is after revenge on the person who’s wearing her ring. The same ring Kate’s father gave her for her birthday – found on the premises during the restoration work. None of this is obvious at the beginning – this is all hindsight of course.

Aside from the drowning ghost, we discover that Ryan’s dead brother still haunts the river where he died. I get the feeling that this is a setup for a later episode, because Ryan was very keen to find out the extent of Jed’s abilities. And Kate’s father looks like being the villain of the piece – I’ve read that he’s got ‘history’ with the building…

Now, Bedlam’s not absolutely perfect. Some sequences felt laboured and some felt cliched, but overall a strong start. There were plenty of questions raised, mostly around the text messages that Jed was receiving – “Save Kate”. These turned around when Jed saw a graffiti message “Save yourselves from Kate” on a wall at the end of the episode. And the faces of spectres staring out the windows. 

I suspect a fairly formulaic approach from hereon. It’ll depend on how the episodes are handled, but based on this first episode, I’m expecting good things. 

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