Red Rose – BBC 3


  I don’t usually watch supernatural or horror things, but I’m watching this because it’s set just up the road in Bolton.  It showcases Bolton brilliantly: there’ve been some great shots of the town and its moorland outskirts.  And it’s surprisingly gripping.   We’ve got a very believable and well-acted group of teenagers, looking forward to a summer of fun after finishing their GCSEs, but with friendships being tested by romantic relationships and tensions over who is and isn’t in with the in crowd.

One girl, Rochelle, having a hard time due to family problems, downloads what seems like a fun app.  It’s so, so easy to do.  The link cleverly “phishes” her by purporting to come from a friend.  and, having drawn her in by giving her money and presents, it then starts using her phone to photograph and record what she’s doing, issuing orders and threats, and making it clear that it knows all about her.

Whilst there’s a strong paranormal element to the story, the idea of an app taking over your life by taking over your phone is frighteningly easy to imagine.  Soon, the app has destroyed Rochelle and moved on to her best friend.

Red Rose is the name of the app – the symbol of Lancashire, and also a motif in several fairytales and adaptations thereof.   Clever choice of name.  And the viewers know that it’s already caused the death of a teenage girl in Manchester, but the teenage gang in Bolton don’t.

It’s scary.  And very cleverly done.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how this develops.  It’s made a promising start.

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