The Reckoning

Director Jim O'Hanlon, Producer Jeremy Gwilt, TXTV/ITV - 2011

The Reckoning is a two one-hour episode drama for ITV staring Max Beasley and Ashley Jensen. The complex plot centres around Sally, a single mother with a daughter who has Leukemia. She is called to an imposing city solicitors and given an envelope from a dead man who she doesn’t know, inside there is a proposal; kill someone and she’ll receive £5,000,000. 

I wanted this high-drama to flow into the look of the piece but to keep it firmly rooted in reality so as not to loose the audience belief in what they’re witnessing. There was an opportunity to give The Reckoning an individual look to distinguish itself from other television dramas. I spent time choosing bold locations for each character and applied strong colour themes for each.


I wanted Sally’s house to have a large structure looming over it, representing the weight on her circumstances; her daughters certain demise, secrets from her past and now the choice of whether to accept this horrific proposal. We found the perfect building on a housing estate which backed onto a generating plant and their cooling fantastic towers, (above).

Sally works in a Call Centre which is modern, void of detail and geometric. The location was dressed suitably, using a  restricted pallet of red and grey. These colours were used in the companies logo. 

The London law firm was made up of a few locations to get the right atmosphere. I wanted to make the offices to have an intimidating gentlemans club atmosphere but with dressing reminders that we are still in the present day.


Contrasting scenes in run down homeless centres and internet cafe’s were given an ugly colour theme with harsh fluorescent lighting (below) suggesting a sense of danger and unease.


We found the father’s house in Belgravia, the first floor drawing room was perfect, I replaced the furniture and dressed in character photographs, paintings, personal items and more lamps for the night scenes.


Some scenes were set in an East London brothell. I dressed the kitchen, corridor and bedroom with dated furniture, thread-bare carpets and crude framed prints. I worked closely with the costume department to make sure our colours and textures matched.

Wealthy socialite Victoria lived in an apartment in another world from Sally’s. A penthouse with stunning views over the city, spacious but clinical and characterless.

Scenes outside two different prisons were shot in two different parts of Wormwood Scrubs to save a location  move. I dressed the visitors room with a yellow colour theme for the scenes.