Deadwater Fell review

Deadwater Fell

Netflix Series
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An idyllic community is thrown into chaos when a perfect and happy family is murdered by someone they knew. All is not what it seems in Deadwater Fell.

The burden of proof rests on innocent until proven guilty. But when someone presents themselves as respectable and there is room for doubt, then how do you convince others? Or even yourself?

Deadwater Fell, is a limited series full of small town intrigue starring David Tennant and Cush Jumbo.

This 2020 drama came hot on the heels of Broadchurch (also starring Tennant) and so comparisons were inevitable.

Now that the series is streaming on Netflix it is possible to get some distance from that knee jerk reaction.

What Is Deadwater Fell About?

At the centre of the story is the secrets behind closed doors.

On the surface, primary school teacher Kate Kendrick (Anna Madeley) has three buoyant children and is happily married to village doctor, Tom (Tennant).

They are good friends with next door neighbours Jess (Cush Jumbo, Criminal Record) and Police Sergeant, Steve (Matthew McNulty).

Yet tragedy strikes and upends the small (fictional) Scottish village of Kirkdarroch. A fire devastates the Kendrick house. Only Tom survives, pulled out unconscious by Steve.

The community is in utter shock, however as the dust settles several unanswered questions are left behind.

Why did the family appear to have been drugged? Why was there a padlock on the kids bedroom door? Why was Kate already dead?

Deadwater Fell makes strategic use of flashbacks to reveal snippets of information. Fondly remembered joint family picnics between our main characters are marred with furtive marital arguments.

Series creator Daisy Coulam skilfully captures how a modification of tone or glimmer of expression between a long standing couple can be just as powerful as any full blown row.

Deadwater Fell Official Trailer

Is Deadwater Fell Worth Watching?

The series does a commendable job of swirling a decent amount of mud in the loch to keep you guessing.

Unlike Broadchurch’s large grandiose shots of the touristy West Dorset cliffs, Deadwater Fell retains the feel of a secluded and close knit community where everyone has a front face, and secret side.

Emotive town hall moments ratchet up the pressure where the oncoming storm of whispers can damn faster than any court ever could.

In a show where what you see and what actually happens can be two different things, Tennant is superb.

As revelations come out about Kate’s fractured mental state before the tragedy (she was coming off anti-depressants, CCTV footage shows her buying the padlock) Tom deals with the information in public and in private very differently.

Whereas Tennant is a master of visible emotional control, Cush Jumbo is the audience’s free-wheeling unknown factor; her open book expressions represents our emotional lead in to the plot.

Under the surface the relationship between Jess and the Kendricks is more than it appears. After all, Kate had three children with apparent ease, whilst Jess underwent unsuccessful IVF. Also, Tom is frequently there while Steve is often away.

Deadwater Fell is a tightly knitted drama that expertly walks you through the pattern of its own design.

Each reveal of a little bit of information sheds new light on previously seen elements, all balanced beautifully to keep this four part drama just a little ahead of you for most of its run.

Fall right in but beware: the water is deeper than you can see.

Words by Mike Record


  • Tennant And Jumbo Shine
  • Skilfully Built 4 Part Limited Series
  • More Ground Level Than Broadchurch


  • Perhaps Tips Its Hand A Little Too Early
  • More Again In The 'Tennant Crime Drama' Genre
  • More Of The Town's Residents Would Have Helped


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