July 24, 2008

Oil Executive Feels the Heat

Burn Up

BBC2 Wales, 9pm

IT'S not every day the BBC schedules a heavyweight drama like this on its second channel - but Auntie Beeb has taken that option with two-part, star-studded political thriller Burn Up.

Billed as "an emotionally powerful story of love, commitment and divided loyalty" it was written by Simon Beaufoy, the man behind The Full Monty, but there's nothing funny about it.

Events begin as a team of geologists ais slaughtered deep in the Saudi desert. Luckily, one of the group, Masud (San Shella) survives and embarks on a desperate journey back to civilisation.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Arrow Oil, Sir Mark Foxbay (David Calder) resigns without warning, and hands the reigns of power to his handsome son-in-law Tom McConnell (Rupert Penry-Jones).

He's barely had a chance to park his bum in the hot seat before Inuit woman Mika (Sandrine Holt) targets him and accuses his company of ruining her homeland. When her court case is thrown out, she takes drastic measures to highlight her plight - leaving Tom horrified and badly shaken.

He gets support from his best friend and company man Mack (Bradley Whitford), and together they set about repairing the damage done to Arrow Oil's reputation, deciding to shove Arrow's head of renewables, Holly Dernay (Neve Campbell) into the spotlight.

The pressure is on for the oil executives as the terms for Kyoto 2 are set to be agreed at a conference in Calgary, and Tom comes under huge pressure to stand by his employers.

But as the beleaguered chap grows closer to Holly, a devastating chain of events is about to unfold.

It's not the first time we've seen Penry-Jones in an action role - after all, he's best known to viewers as the dashing Adam Carter in Spooks.

His first TV appearance came in a 1988 Christmas special of French and Saunders, followed by a series of roles, including Cold Comfort Farm, Cambridge Spies and saucy period romp Casanova.

While Penry-Jones's forthcoming series of Spooks has been confirmed as his last, fear not - he isn't vanishing off the radar.

The star has finished filming Whitechapel, a new drama for ITV1, and of course, there's this gripping two-part drama (concludes Friday, 9pm) to be going on with.

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