To make a psychological thriller truly chilling, the devil’s in the detail, and there’s plenty of that in The Devil’s Hour.
Amazon’s complicated six-parter creeps around the goings-on of harried child protection officer Lucy (Call The Midwife’s Jessica Raine), her ‘not right’ emotionally absent son, and her years of being woken by vivid nightmares every morning at 3.33am.
She’s also plagued by increasingly disturbing visions during the day. Those visions connect, it transpires, to a police investigation led by Nikesh Patel and Alex Ferns’s odd-couple cops.
Keeping up? Good. Prime suspect in that investigation, which involves a string of murders, is Gideon, a nomadic loner played by Peter Capaldi. In all, it’s part whodunnit, part domestic drama, part supernatural riddle, all spoilers.
At least four years in the Tardis have prepared Capaldi for the job of keeping secrets from nosy journalists.
‘It’s one of those things that’s more difficult to explain than it will be to see,’ he grins. ‘Gideon is a mysterious, threatening, possibly mad character – a merciless criminal wanted by the authorities, who sees Lucy as having a key role to play in a wider plan only he knows about.
‘Gideon holds all the secrets, but doesn’t reveal them until episode six. But that’s OK – people have to be intrigued.’
Filming through winter in Covid conditions meant the menacing atmosphere wasn’t hard to conjure.
‘Standing in a freezing cellar or a decrepit old trailer at 3am can be pretty miserable,’ says Capaldi. ‘I haven’t really mixed with the other actors, because by the time I’m involved, they’re either dead or I’m running away from them. So it can be a bit lonely but it helps with the character. And I do get to kill a lot of people, which is always fun!’
In person, Capaldi is affability personified, his hair the only wild thing about him as he considers the philosophy underpinning the series. ‘It asks questions about being, dreams and nightmares and waking life, different ways of perception. It’s about how you come to be and how you to come to go.’ He looks pleased.
‘That’s pretty good stuff, isn’t it?’
The Devil’s Hour launches on Amazon Prime on Friday