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Dark Money – TV Series review

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Wed, July 31st, 2019

BBC One drama Dark Money hit the screens of viewers and left a shiver down their spine as it came to the end of its harrowing tale. The drama was created and written by Levi David Addai (Damilola, Our Loved Boy) and finished airing live in the 16th of July. However, you can keep reading to find out where you can stream it to catch up on the story.


The plot revolves around a 14 year old boy who believes he has hit the big time when he is cast in a Hollywood film. However, he soon realises that the dream isn’t all he thought it would be when he is sexually abused by one of the producers on the set. The series only has four episodes and it begins to unravel dark secrets. When the boy’s parents find out, they are left with an option – to go to the police against someone who is renowned in the film industry or to sign a non-disclosure agreement and agree never to tell. Seems an easy choice, doesn’t it? Not when they are also offered £3 million to keep their mouths shut. Knowing that their lives could change forever, the family opt to sign the non-disclosure agreement, take the money and try to piece together their lives again.

All of which lends itself for tense viewing which has since left viewers haunted and thoughtful about the events that are sadly not unlike the stories that we hear about so often.

Dark Mon£y

Who is in the cast of Dark Money? 

Sam Mensah – Jill Halfpenny (Eastenders)

Sam Mensah is the mother of the boy who reaches fame only to realise the darker side of the business as his time in Hollywood progresses. Jill Halfpenny describes the character, stating that she has “an inner strength but she’s not necessarily the most gregarious person you would ever meet.” The actress herself won Strictly Come Dancing in 2004 while she has had roles on Eastenders, Humans and Waterloo Road.


Mann Mensah – Babou Ceesay (Into the Badlands)

Manny Mensah is the father of the boy and when he learns that the producer is abusing his son, he has to ‘[face] the biggest question he’s ever had to face’ according to Babou Ceesay. He has to choose between doing the right thing for his son or doing the right thing for all of them by signing the agreement and taking the money. Babou Ceesay also appeared in Levi David Addai’s previous story Damiola, Our Loved Boy while he’s had roles in Eye in the Sky, Rogue One and Into the Badlands.

Cheryl Denon – Rebecca Front (The Thick of It)

Rebecca Front has described the character herself, saying,  “Cheryl is Isaac’s chaperone, so when Isaac goes off to do the film and he’s away filming for a long time and his parents both work, he is assigned to her care and she has this enormous responsibility.” Rebecca Front has appeared in many award winning shows such as Poldark, Inspector Lewis and The Thick Of It.

Isaac Mensah – Max Fincham (Detective Pikachu)

Isaac Mensah is the son and the aspiring young actor who has his dreams dashed when he falls victim to abuse from the producer. He is played by Max Fincham who is relatively new to the acting scene as he has only had two roles – a part in the Pokemon film ‘Detective Pikachu’ and the TV series The Alienist. This is an intense role for the young actor but he is taking it in his stride.


Is Dark Money based on a true story? 

Dark Money isn’t based on any particular story that has happened but it is a topic that many people are talking about following the MeToo movement. Over the past few years, there have been many people bravely opening up to the fact that they have been sexually abused by various different people and many are people in power who are abusing that power.

Babou Ceesay summarised, “Isaac doesn’t want anyone to know, which means that every time his parents do tell someone, it’s breaking his trust a little more. It’s an overwhelming situation and here’s the reality – 90 percent of people would take the money.” But as we will learn in the series, what may have seemed to be the best decision will come back to bite the Mensah family as they struggle to come to terms with what happened to their son and how they handled it as parents.

Alongside raising awareness of sexual abuse, the show will also tackle topics such as non-disclosure-agreements, cover-ups from powerful and wealthy people and other problems that are running riot within the entertainment industry specifically. The show itself has been in works by Levi for a long time, even before the MeToo movement made its mark.

The MeToo movement was specifically curated following the sexual abuse allegations that were made against Harvey Weinstein, a famous Hollywood producer. Although he denies every single allegation made about him, it had people talking and coming out with their own traumatic stories of abuse.

Acording to the creator work began on developing the idea and writing the script before those stories actually became mainstream.

To ensure that he was creating the most realistic and sympathetic story while not dramatising anything outside of the realms of the natural, Levi worked with child psychologists while he was writing the show.

You can now catch up on Dark Money on BBC One via the TVMucho service.

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