Crisis looms in submarine drama Vigil on BBC One

Crisis looms in submarine drama Vigil on BBC One

Former Royal Navy personnel have said the BBC should “hang its head in shame” over erroneous uniforms, the boat’s size and the storage of a corpse in a torpedo tube.

HMS Vigil is one of four nuclear subs patrolling Scottish waters, their mission so crucial that even the mysterious death of a submariner in his bunk arouses little curiosity. That’s not how the mainland police force sees it, so detective Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) is lowered via helicopter (“Do NOT get caught under the wire”) to conduct an investigation against a wall of silence.

“I can’t understand why the captain doesn’t want me to look into this!” Has Silva never watched a crime show? The backdrop is efficiently sketched: the ongoing debate over Trident missiles, a disruptive protest camp at the gates of the naval base, a past trauma that means Silva might be an unsuitable person to plunge into a marine environment. Judging by Stephen Dillane’s best fishy stare as the admiral who dispatches her thither, the navy will not extend Silva much courtesy or assistance. “It’s three days, I can do that,” she says unconvincingly, before strapping into her helicopter survival suit.