Channel 4's new series The Accident wasn't the explosive drama it should have been

The notion of taking responsibility seems to be a bit old-fashioned these days.

Individuals blame corporations for their woes, corporations blame governments, governments blame the electorate and no one takes responsibility.

So who will take the rap for The Accident (Channel 4, Thursdays, 9pm)? Teenage kids, out of their minds from the stultifying boredom of living in a small Welsh valley town, run riot through a poorly-secured building site.

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But tragedy strikes, the building collapses and some of the teenagers are killed.

By the end of this week’s first episode, there were quite a few suspects lined up. The corporation behind the development, obviously; the leader of the council – and father to one of the surviving teens – who clearly was desperate to attract investment to his town; and passer-by Michael, who rescued one of the girls but claimed to be just ‘walking by’.

So who will take responsibility? Corporation, government, or individual?

I’m not entirely sure I’ll be sticking around to find out. Written by Jack Thorne, The Accident is clearly one of those state-of-the-nation pieces, like Thorne’s previous C4 dramas National Treasure and Kiri.

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The action moves by rote, with particularly the scene with the teens’ mums and dads standing around watching the building collapse from mere yards away striking a false note.

It all seems to progress mechanically, not as a result of the characters’ psychologies, and there seem to be more hints of a detective story than a forensic examination of blame culture.

The best scenes involved the youngest actors, particularly Jade Croot, who plays survivor Leona.

It’s all a bit by-the-numbers, and who will take responsibilty for that?

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If Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive (Channel 4, Thursday, 10pm) told us anything, it was that you don’t battle or fight cancer, you live with it, and ex-BBC Breakfast host Bill showed you can live with a death sentence.

World on Fire (BBC1, Sundays, 9pm) is turning out to be much better than that first episode suggested. It handles the multiple story strands expertly, and brilliantly illustrates the moral compromises of war.

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