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Vicky McClure in Insomnia© Left Bank Pictures

Is Line of Duty star Vicky McClure’s intense new drama Insomnia worth the watch?

Vicky McClure's new TV show has received mixed reactions from critics

Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
May 29, 2024
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Are you a fan of Line of Duty star Vicky McClure? The star, who is also known for her roles in This is England and Trigger Point, is currently starring in a new Paramount+ series, Insomnia, and viewers have taken to social media to discuss the drama. So is it worth the watch? Find out what people have been saying so far…

Taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, one person wrote: “#Insomnia on @paramountplus is brilliant. Gripping, intense and thrilling from the start. Vicky McClure at her best. Can't wait to see where it goes next.” Another fan added: “As brilliant as I expected.” 

A third person wrote: “Starting watching #insomnia and I'm hooked brilliant actress @Vicky_McClure." A third person critiqued: “#Insomnia Vicky McClure's new series has me very baffled. It has a very disturbing atmosphere in McClure, it is excellent, and I also like the looping narrative. I don't know where it will [go] but for now it has my attention.” 

Critics were less enthusiastic, with iNews writing: “There was one element I didn’t see coming. To go into detail would be to give away too much about the finale but the ending felt more like a lazy cheat than a twist – more irritating than entertaining.”

Vicky opened up about the show© Left Bank Pictures
Vicky opened up about the show

Digital Spy wrote: “The very serious-minded drama grasps at the straws of motherhood, women aging and childhood trauma, but there just isn't much there there. Insomnia feels most comfortable playing in the paddling pool of soapy storylines, rather than sinking into the deep waters of those Big Themes.” 

The Irish Times gave it a more positive review, writing: “McClure is great and underneath the pulp trappings, Insomnia explores, with a reasonable degree of seriousness, the challenge of ageing parents and of confronting parts of yourself that are beyond your control. It’s silly but gets under the skin.” 

Emma Averill played by Vicky© Left Bank Pictures
Emma Averill played by Vicky

So what is the show about? The story follows Vicky as Emma “who fears she might be losing her mind when her hard-won dream life starts to turn into a nightmare. A couple of weeks before her fortieth birthday, Emma stops sleeping — just as her mother had done right before she suffered a violent psychotic breakdown on the night of her own fortieth birthday. Emma’s mother always told her she’d go the same way, that she had the same “bad blood” and now Emma’s terrified it’s true”. 

The synopsis continues: “As events worsen, Emma’s world starts to unravel and she realises that only by investigating the truth of her painful past, can she find the answers to her present and prevent tragedy from striking a second time.” 

Vicky McClure in the new psychological drama
Vicky McClure in the new psychological drama

Speaking to Digital Spy about the role, Vicky said: “I turned 40 last year, she was turning 40 in the show. I was like, this is a sign. And then just the general difference in terms of the tone of the show and a character that I haven't really played before or for a very long time.

“Emma was dreading it and for good reasons. It was sort of consuming her. I think I was excited because it's like you've hit a milestone and I think it's something that we should all embrace. Not everyone gets the opportunity to hit those milestones. So for me, it was an exciting prospect.

Vicky McClure as DI Kate Fleming in Line of Duty© World Productions/Steffan Hill/BBC
Vicky McClure as DI Kate Fleming in Line of Duty

“I also feel like I was born 40. My sister is older than me, but I was always kind of the older one. I do feel like I've got a bit of an old soul. So I felt like I'd hit my age and it was nice. I had a lovely party with my family. It was lovely. It was a nice day.” 

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