Five Days

Five Days

Infobox Television Film
name = Five Days

format = Drama
picture_format = 720x576, anamorphic 16:9
runtime = 289 minutes []
(approx 58 minutes per part)
producer =
executive_producer =
starring = Hugh Bonneville
David Oyelowo
Sarah Smart
Edward Woodward
music = Magnus Fiennes
country = United Kingdom
language = English
network = BBC One
first_aired = 23 January 2007
last_aired = 1 February 2007
num_episodes = 5
website =
imdb_id = 0840094
tv_com_id = 67852

"Five Days" is a five-part television drama miniseries produced by the BBC in association with Home Box Office (HBO) and aired on BBC One from 23 January to 1 February 2007, and repeated on BBC Four from 9 April to 13 April 2007.

The series follows five non-consecutive days (days 1, 3, 28, 33 and 79) of a police investigation into the disappearance of a young mother and her two children. It was written by Gwyneth Hughes and directed by Otto Bathurst and Simon Curtis. Music for the series was composed by Magnus Fiennes [] .


Leanne Wellings prepares to visit her Grandad who resides in a home. She takes her two young children Rosie and Ethan, calling up the stairs to her elder daughter, Tanya, to join them. Tanya makes an excuse; she doesn't want to go. Leanne shrugs and they leave. Leanne is rushing to collect a dog from the shelter before it closes. Then she drives to see her Grandad, new dog in tow, but stops at a layby to buy Grandad some flowers from a van. A lorry draws up at the same time. The children lose sight of their mother as they sit in the car; Leanne does not return and the bewildered children start to walk away from the car.

Leanne's husband, Matt, works at a local gym. It is here that several of the characters connect with each other: Press Officer Defne ignores loner Kyle as he tries to make a conversation.In another scene, we meet Barbara and John, Leanne's parents, Barbara is a bit of a firebrand, mild- mannered John makes jam.

Slowly the family learn not only of Leanne's disappearance: the children are now missing too. Kyle seems to have picked them up in a white van. The police begin the investigation, but the Press Officer feels there is a lack of support, and the DSI in charge is relatively new in the position.

Matt's best friend from his Army days in Yugoslavia, Gary, is about to retire, and complains of not having enough pension to live on. Matt gets him a job at the gym where he works, and the police recruit him to spy on Matt, paying him for information.

The police begin a house to house investigation, and Beam wakes up Sarah, who has been asleep, who has jet-lag and is disorientated. On learning the time from Beam, she dashes out of her flat, and opens a shed door to dump her rubbish. There, crouching in the darkness, she finds Ethan, and the dog. Ethan says "I was supposed to look after Rosie"; Sarah is seen as a heroine for finding the little boy. Ethan cannot tell the police much other than his dog bit a man, and the man had a dirty white van. Hazel becomes more and more suspicious of the behavior of her son, Kyle. His hand is damaged, and he begins to wash his white van every day, when he had previously never washed it.

Meanwhile journalist Josh smells a story, and persuades his editor to run a picture of attractive Leanne on their front page. Theirs is a small local newspaper, and he wants to run a more exciting story than Golden Weddings. He does this despite getting the brush off from Defne, who is trying to keep the story under wraps. Josh took photos for the paper at the home where Vic, Leanne's Grandad, resides, and he manages to converse with Vic about his granddaughter. He eventually persuades Vic to loan him the key to his mobile home, in order to sniff around for clues and background details. But when he arrives at the mobile home, he is astonished to discover little Rosie on the bed seemingly unharmed. He calls the police and takes pictures for his paper and dashes off to his office, leaving Rosie with neighbours, but misses Kyle who, on arriving at the mobile home in his white van, is arrested by police.

Defne eventually persuades Matt to give a press conference, and Barbara agrees to speak as well. The press conference goes very badly, and Josh poses the question to Matt "did you know your wife was pregnant?"; evidently having gotten the information from her grandfather. Matt, badly shaken, storms off. It is left to Barbara to appeal to whoever has any information about Leanne. At first, she is calm, then she gives in to a scream of panic and grief in front of them all. After the debacle, DSI Barclay is rapped by his superior for not participating and supporting the press. He remains aloof, but agrees to help.

Sarah is finding it hard to let go of the Wellings family, and starts seeing them regularly. Matt tells her he can't start a relationship with her, other than friendship. She is upset at this, and eventually tells him her own, traumatic past, in which her dad murdered her mum. Sarah was 5 at the time. This seems to explain her rather unbalanced behaviour since finding Ethan.

Tanya has left to live with her grandparents and expresses her feelings of guilt to John. She tells him she didn't want to visit "Greats" because "his room smells" and now she feels this would never have happened had she been with them. John tries to reassure her. Eventually Tanya goes to stay with her dad in France. The police have a lead that Leanne may have started seeing her ex- husband, but they haven't followed it up. Barclay is obsessed with following the flower seller, a Bosnian, who may have links with illegal immigration from Macedonia. This frustrates the rest of the team.

After 28 days DSI Barclay comes under scrutiny from his superiors in the Met as he has no leads on the case at all. They are about to submit a report and are asking the team questions. His colleague Amy is frustrated he hasn't named a suspect, and thinks he is holding off naming Matt because Matt is black, and Barclay's superiors have ordered him to hold off. Barclay denies this. Later a body is found in the woods by the dog shelter owner, whilst out walking his dogs. This leads to a very tense few hours for everyone until the body is identified as Branko, the Macedonian illegal immigrant who sold flowers from a van; the van Leanne was buying flowers from when she disappeared.

On day 33 it is August Bank Holiday; Defne is taking part in the fun run and Beam is there to support her. Josh is there to cover the event as well. Simone, Sarah and Matt take the children to the fun run; Matt becomes overwhelmed by the crowds and he and Sarah go to her flat, leaving the children and the dog with Simone. They end up in bed, despite Matt's reluctance. Suddenly a boater on the lake starts shouting.... he spots a body in the water. After several days it is confirmed that the body is Leanne's.

Amy is about to retire, and her colleagues lay on a party for her. Drunk, she gives a speech about not missing "you bunch of tossers"; in reality she is terrified at the prospect of life without her work. Barclay takes her home and sobers her up. Before she retired the forensic lab did her one last favour: they have identified the fibres under Leanne's fingernails as carpet. It becomes apparent to Barclay that Leanne, desperate to give a clue to her would be rescuers, deliberately scraped up the fibres so they would be found. It was also established that she was alive when she was dumped in the lake. John is languishing in a psychiatric hospital, following an overdose. Barclay had warned him about seeing Leanne after 5 weeks underwater, and he's traumatised. Only Tanya comes to see him, and it's obvious she loves her Grandad, mirroring her mum's devotion to Vic, despite her protestations of "who needs love, anyway". Barbara won't come and see him; she's too angry. Beam is irritated by the dog shelter man, who insists on confessing to killing Leanne.

Kyle is in court, he is remanded in custody despite his pleas that he is regularly beaten by other inmates in prison. The judge refuses to remand him to his mother, however, and a desperate Kyle manages to escape from the police van taking him back to prison. He's hit by a car, but continues on his way, eventually ending up at Rosie and Ethan's house, where they're being cared for by Sarah. Rosie is delighted to see him, and runs out to give him a hug. He disappears before Sarah comes out and finds the children.

Eventually Kyle is cornered at the gym; Gary finds him and kicks him viciously, telling him to keep quiet. Matt tells the others to call the police, and then locks himself in the locker room with Kyle and Gary, where he demands to know if Kyle hurt Rosie. Kyle swears he didn't, and says that it was all an accident. He and Branko ran a smuggling scheme bringing in untaxed cigarettes, and storing them at Vic's mobile home. Vic had let them use it as a favor to Hazel, Kyle's mother, who worked at the nursing home and was the only person who was kind to Vic. When Leanne stopped to buy the flowers, Kyle was in the back of the flower van with cigarettes and illegal cash; Leanne started yelling at Branko that his cancer sticks were killing her grandfather. Branko shoved her down, and she hit her head. Terrified, Branko and Kyle threw her in the back of the van and drove off. When she recovered consciousness, she was concerned about her children, so Kyle went to pick them up. Ethan and the dog jumped out, but he took Rosie back to Vic's mobile home, where Branko had taken Leanne. Kyle swears it was too late, and Leanne died, so he took her body and put it in the lake.

Matt tells him that it WASN'T too late, that Leanne died of drowning, and that Kyle killed her. Kyle is horrified and turns to Gary and says "You said she was dead!" Matt understands that it was Gary who killed his wife, and attacks him; the police break in and take them all away, but it's too late for Kyle -- he's dead of his injuries. Gary is charged with the deaths of Leanne, Branko and Kyle. The final scene is Matt with his three children at Leanne's grave (with a smaller cross for her unborn baby). Sarah is nearby, but doesn't join the family as they walk away together.


The drama is both about the murder of Leanne, and about how it affects her family and others. Her mother Barbara admits a painful truth about her relationship with her father; almost too late she realises what she has with her husband, John. Tanya, too, undergoes a difficult personal change. Her beloved dad deserts her callously, and it is left to Matt to pick up the pieces. Far from perfect and inarticulate, Matt struggles with the guilt of knowing the last conversation with Leanne was a stupid row. Worse still, he is betrayed by his best friend. Sarah is a needy and damaged person who manages to learn and move on, despite her apparent failed relationship with Matt. The only persons shown in a unrelieved bad light are the press, who are depicted as heartless and greedy.


David Oyelowo - Matt Wellings
Penelope Wilton - Barbara Poole
Hugh Bonneville - DSI Iain Barclay
Edward Woodward - Vic Marsham
Sarah Smart - Sarah Wheeler
Janet McTeer - DS Amy Foster
Patrick Malahide - John Poole
Nikki Amuka-Bird - PC Simone Farnes
Doug Allen - Gary Machin
Michelle Bonnard - Defne Topcu
Rory Kinnear - Kyle Betts
Margot Leicester - Hazel Betts
Lucinda Dryzek - Tanya Wellings
Lee Massey - Ethan Wellings
Tyler Anthony - Rosie Wellings
Al Weaver - Josh Fairley
Phil Davis - Mic Danes
Richard Harrington - Daf Parry
Christine Tremarco - Leanne Wellings
Harriet Walter - ACC Jennie Griffin
Charlie Creed-Miles - DC Stephen Beam

External links

* [ Five Days] — official BBC website
* [;title;0 "Five Days"] on
* Viewers' reviews on the Guardian website []

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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