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Mr Bates v The Post Office: Critics praise ITV's realistic drama

Mr Bates v The Post Office: Critics praise ITV's realistic drama

  • Written by Emma Saunders
  • Entertainment reporter

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Toby Jones received praise for his performance as Alan Bates

Mr. Bates vs. The Post Office received largely positive reviews from critics after the first episode aired on New Year's Day.

The ITV drama is based on the real-life story of Postmaster Alan Bates (Toby Jones) who led the campaign to expose the Post Office Horizon IT scandal.

The Telegraph described it as “undeniably powerful and ultimately redemptive”.

But The Independent said the series “could use more drama”.

The four-part miniseries, which airs nightly on ITV this week, focuses on the epic legal battle Betts fought and won, paving the way for dozens of convictions to be overturned.

He gave the first episode four stars. Jasper Rees of The Telegraph wrote: “Fueled by righteous anger and unbridled suspicion of corporate wrongdoing that cannot be fully explained, it is powerful, undeniable, and ultimately redemptive.

“We cling to the idea that people can't be that bad,” says one. “I've rarely felt so manipulated by drama, and rarely been less upset by it,” he added.

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The series airs every night this week on ITV and is also available on the network's streaming service ITVX

“The drama feels like an episode of Black Mirror at first, and it's easily as terrifying as the darkest dystopia imagined,” she said.

“If the drama is broad brushstrokes at times, with important moments presented as if written in big, bold letters, you can't really blame it. The moments of triumph are so hard-earned that it seems only fair to drown them in the swelling of the strings.” “

The Times's Carol Midgley also received an award The series has four stars. “The Post Office Horizon scandal is a story so sensationalized, so disgraceful and so downright ugly that I found it difficult to watch,” she said.

“Seeing decent, ordinary, innocent people being mentally tortured and systematically robbed of their livelihoods, homes, savings, good health and reputations through corporate cruelty in Mr. Bates v. Post Office made me uncomfortable to the point of heartburn.

“Perhaps Hughes's greatest achievement is to make it so disorienting to watch. It's still hard to believe that this happened in modern Britain, and that good people actually went to prison for things they didn't do.”

There was praise for the actors By Martin Robinson of the Evening Standard. “Kafka’s situation is completely humanized through the performances,” he said, adding: “Like Jimmy Saville’s BBC series The Reckoning, this as a watch is both very interesting and disturbing.

“This kind of viewing is essential because it dramatizes the aftermath of a scandal that was only reported in print.”

“Getting into the details of the Horizon system, and explaining to audiences exactly what happened, is not conducive to dramatic programming. It's hard to imagine that many will stick with Mr Bates vs the Post Office for the full duration of its four series.” -Night Run.

“Through the bizarre creative decisions and artistic nature of the plot, Mr. Bates vs. the Post Office ends up being a human drama that could use more drama.”

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