Crossfire review – Keeley Hawes stars in the world’s most stupidly corridor-based thriller

Hey – do you like corridors? How about frantic whispered conversations? Or mobile phones? If you like any of these – and if you like all of them, hold on to your hat right now – then has the BBC got a treat for you! It’s called Crossfire (BBC One), and it comprises nothing else. About 306 adults (a conservative estimate) and their 854 kids have gone on a dream holiday together to a big hotel in a big resort with a pool and sun and everything.

At first, things look promising for the viewer because one of the couples is Keeley Hawes (as Jo) and Lee Ingleby (as Jason) – who are good actors who wouldn’t choose to appear in anything that is going to be 100% corridors, frantic whispered conversations and mobile phones – and also because Jo is busy sexting someone who is definitely not petulant manbaby Jason. Hurrah, you think. Sexual tension, mind games and psychological wotsits are bound to abound. What a day!

Then a group of masked men start shooting people in the pool. Everyone rushes to presumed safety in the hotel, except for the extras who get killed and a few protagonists who cower temporarily behind walls for Increased Narrative Jeopardisation. Action too, you think. But you think wrong. The rest of it is just people running up and down corridors in the hotel to places of greater or lesser safety. Whenever they find refuge – under a table with a long tablecloth, or in a kitchen, or between stacks of pool equipment – they whip out their phones and ring each other.

“Where are you?” someone will say.

“I’m dead because you rang me while my life was dependent on staying silently hidden,” say not enough of them. Or, more often: “I’m under a table/in the kitchen/between stacks of pool equipment and still too vulnerable to be having this frantically whispered conversation. I’m going to run along a corridor now, to a place of greater or lesser safety.”

“Be careful,” the caller will say.

“Oh, yeah, good idea, never thought of that,” the other does not, with commendable restraint, say.

But maybe they shouldn’t be so sarky, because despite the fact that the hotel looks slightly larger than King’s Landing in Game of Thrones and must contain upwards of 3m miles of corridor and a kabillion corners, there is a masked gunman lurking round just about every one.

Jason is in their gunman-free hotel room, luckily, when Jo calls him and asks if the kids are with him. They are not. “See if they’ve called my phone!” she says, because she left it on the side when she heard the gunshots 20 long, long minutes ago and because she doesn’t remember that it is stuffed to the cyber-gills with sexy texts and selfies to – well, I shan’t tell you, because you will be in need of all the suspense you can get if you’ve made it this far through episode one. Jason goes into deep petulance mode, which is the best thing to do if you’re trapped in a hotel with marauding murderers roaming every passageway for reasons you already suspect cannot possibly be credible.

Eventually the security manager pairs up with Jo and is delighted to find that she is a trained police officer from when Hawes was in Line of Duty. He has an office full of guns, he says, just down these 80 corridors here. Off they crouch-trot.

Meanwhile – oh God, I don’t know, and care less. Everyone is hiding and quivering. Their breath, as Eric Morecambe would say, is coming in short pants. One couple-man has escaped with other holidaymakers and two of the kids, but stupidly loses the stupid brats by helping a stupid woman down a stony bit of a stupid path. There is – but of course – a tension pneumothorax in the kitchen and one of the couple-women, who is a doctor, has to sort it out with an eggbeater and a mixed grill.

Sometimes there are flashbacks, not in corridors but still very boring. They tend to show how the friends ended up together at the resort. Every episode is bookended by Jo musing in voiceover on the nature of time, traumatic events, fate and free will. It makes you long to get back to the corridors.

If you are suffering from a tension pneumothorax yourself and can’t reach the remote control, or if you are a great devotee of the game Who’s Marked Next For Death?, it’s an OK watch. For the rest of us, there’s lots of other stuff to be getting on with, I’ll bet.