A five-part mini-series that revolves around the disappearance of a young mother in a quiet British suburb and the circumstances that leave her children abandoned far from home.
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2010   2007  
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 14 nominations. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Suranne Jones ...  PC Laurie Franklin 5 episodes, 2010
Lee Massey Lee Massey ...  Ethan Wellings 5 episodes, 2007
Michelle Bonnard ...  Tops 5 episodes, 2007
David Oyelowo ...  Matt Wellings 5 episodes, 2007
Luke Hudson Luke Hudson ...  Luke Craig 5 episodes, 2010
Anne Reid ...  Jen Mason 5 episodes, 2010
Tyler Anthony ...  Rosie Wellings 5 episodes, 2007
Penelope Wilton ...  Barbara Poole 5 episodes, 2007
Sarah Smart ...  Sarah Wheeler 5 episodes, 2007
Shivani Ghai ...  Nusrat Preston 5 episodes, 2010
Bernard Hill ...  Gerard Hopkirk 5 episodes, 2010
Matthew McNulty ...  Danny Preston 5 episodes, 2010
Derek Riddell ...  Nick Durden 5 episodes, 2010
Lucinda Dryzek ...  Tanya Wellings 5 episodes, 2007
Charlie Creed-Miles ...  DC Stephen Beam 5 episodes, 2007
Janet McTeer ...  DS Amy Foster 5 episodes, 2007
Jason Watkins ...  Francis Cross 5 episodes, 2007
Hugh Bonneville ...  DSI Iain Barclay 5 episodes, 2007
Rory Kinnear ...  Kyle Betts 5 episodes, 2007
Nikki Amuka-Bird ...  PC Simone Farnes 5 episodes, 2007
Margot Leicester Margot Leicester ...  Hazel Betts 5 episodes, 2007
Patrick Malahide ...  John Poole 5 episodes, 2007
Samantha Robinson Samantha Robinson ...  PC Natalie Cryer 5 episodes, 2010
Edward Woodward ...  Victor Marsham 5 episodes, 2007
Shaun Dooley ...  Sgt Don Parker / ... 5 episodes, 2010
Aaron Neil ...  Ibra Akram 5 episodes, 2010
Joanna Horton Joanna Horton ...  Danielle Miller 5 episodes, 2007
Nina Sosanya ...  Colly Trent 5 episodes, 2010
Steve Evets ...  Pat Dowling 5 episodes, 2010
Kamal Kaan Kamal Kaan ...  Farid Sardar 4 episodes, 2010
David Morrissey ...  DI Mal Craig 4 episodes, 2010
Hugo Speer ...  Supt James Carpenter 4 episodes, 2010
Al Weaver ...  Josh Fairley 4 episodes, 2007
Caroline Martin Caroline Martin ...  Emma Opie 4 episodes, 2007
Sacha Dhawan ...  Khalil / ... 4 episodes, 2010
Doug Allen ...  Gary Machin 4 episodes, 2007
Pooky Quesnel Pooky Quesnel ...  Maureen Hardy 4 episodes, 2010
Ashley Walters ...  Jamal Matthews 4 episodes, 2010
Cornell John ...  Didi Mputu 4 episodes, 2010
Vincent Franklin ...  Rawdon Hull 4 episodes, 2007
San Shella ...  DC Nawaz 4 episodes, 2007
Zaid Munir ...  Sohel Hussain 4 episodes, 2010
Bradley Johnson Bradley Johnson ...  Ross Dwyer 3 episodes, 2010
Paul Wyett Paul Wyett ...  DC Kevin Cunliffe 3 episodes, 2010
Chris Fountain ...  PC Paul Tait 3 episodes, 2010
Jodie McEnery Jodie McEnery ...  Kimberley Briggs 3 episodes, 2010
Susan Cookson Susan Cookson ...  Jane Craig 3 episodes, 2010
Kerry Condon ...  Sister Siobhan Doole / ... 3 episodes, 2010
Fabienne Clark Fabienne Clark ...  Gemma Durden 3 episodes, 2010
Philip Arditti ...  Dr. Adel Haydar 3 episodes, 2010
Phil Davis ...  Mic Danes 3 episodes, 2007
Richard Harrington ...  Daf Parry 3 episodes, 2007
Ruth Gemmell ...  Dr. Tobolska / ... 3 episodes, 2007
Harriet Walter ...  ACC Jenny Griffin 3 episodes, 2007
Ash Tandon ...  Mohammed Hassan / ... 2 episodes, 2010
Christine Tremarco Christine Tremarco ...  Leanne Wellings 2 episodes, 2007
Charlotte Spencer ...  Jaime 2 episodes, 2007
Katie Griffiths ...  Rowan Porter 2 episodes, 2010
Navin Chowdhry ...  DC Bilal Choudry 2 episodes, 2010
Christopher Fairbank ...  DS Curling / ... 2 episodes, 2007
Yvonne Mellor Yvonne Mellor ...  Sally Smale 2 episodes, 2010
Fiona Wade ...  Amira Ahmed 2 episodes, 2010
Olwen May ...  Felicity Green 2 episodes, 2010
David Doyle David Doyle ...  Petrol Attendant 2 episodes, 2007
June Broughton June Broughton ...  Pearl Gladwin 2 episodes, 2010
Patrick O'Kane ...  DI Laverty 2 episodes, 2007
Lauren Taylor Lauren Taylor ...  Stylist 2 episodes, 2007
Nichola Dame Hartwell Nichola Dame Hartwell ...  Older Stylist 2 episodes, 2007
Ian Champion ...  Consultant 2 episodes, 2007-2010


The story begins one hot summer's day when Leanne Wellings is taking her two young children to visit her grandfather. She stops to buy flowers at a motorway lay-by but then inexplicably vanishes - leaving her two small children waiting for her in her car - lost and far from home. Her two small children then set off to find her only to go missing themselves. Their ordeal is captured on CCTV cameras and before long the family's heart-stopping trauma is not only a complex police investigation but a major national news story. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Nothing is what it seems... See more »


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Official Sites:






Release Date:

2 October 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Five Days See more »

Filming Locations:

Hertfordshire, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White (some footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A few scenes, including the ending, are being re-shot for the US release. See more »


In the scene where Hugh Bonneville checks out the VW transporter van, the production office vehicle and livery, plus the silver Mercedes sound van and sound engineer are clearly visible. See more »


Featured in Five Days: Making Five Days (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Five Hours
22 August 2009 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

This is a very engrossing BBC-TV mini-series which is loosely based upon a mysterious disappearance of a young mother, but the series is really more of a study of the assorted characters in the story, which lasts for five hours. It is thus very much an ensemble piece, where the wide variety of brilliant British actors and actresses can show off their talents. The actual characters portrayed are really 'the kind of people one does not normally meet', people so boring and nondescript that it is difficult to admire them. For instance, the lead character is a young husband (the one whose wife disappears) who has no job and no apparent interest in finding any. He lives off handouts from his parents-in-law. He was once in the Army but does not appear to have the slightest flicker of any ambition or any interests in life apart from doting on his small family. He is played by David Oyelowo, who is brilliant at the part, coming across as a totally sympathetic person, although his only activities for five hours are loving and grieving, which he does superbly, so that one wants to comfort him, as he is so obviously a nice guy. The standout performance of the whole series is unquestionably Penelope Wilton, who acts circles round everyone else in the story. She is simply incredible. She portrays a very unsympathetic woman, indeed the only character in the story who is all too familiar to everyone, namely an irrational, hysterical, self-centred, dense, querulous, blindly loving and blindly hating, elderly idiot-woman. Alas, alas, we know them too well. Wilton is one of Britain's finest actresses (see my review of her in 'Half Broken Things'). She takes a character who could have been two-dimensional and makes her four-dimensional. She is wonderfully supported by old pro Patrick Malahide, who plays her exasperated husband, and the pair of them set a high standard indeed for all the younger players. Janet McTeer, a spectacular actress when younger, has become a much less sympathetic type of person now that she is older, has coarsened in some way, and puts one off, but she redeems herself in the latter stages of the story by showing how brilliant an actress she can be when she has a chance by pulling off one of the most convincing and original drunk scenes I have ever seen on film. The big surprise is the enigmatic character Sarah, played with great depth and originality by actress Sarah Smart. She takes a character who could have been insufferably tedious and by sheer acting magic turns her into a deeply mysterious and intriguing person, about whom we wonder tirelessly for the entire five hours. She is so good at it that we end up wondering about Sarah Smart, frankly. I guess that's what happens when you really do your job properly, that people wonder where the character ends and the actress begins, if she knows herself, that is, and many do not. She has some deeply unnerving tricks with her eyes, which wobble and let us know she is unhinged, but we are not sure how or why, though we eventually learn that she had an extremely violent and traumatic childhood. Her mastery of ambiguous facial expressions is extraordinary. Rory Kinnear is amazingly convincing as an apparently hopeless fellow who lives with his mum and isn't up to much, but who turns out to have hidden depths. (I suppose most people have hidden depths, but do we want to plumb them, that is the question.) His mum is played very well indeed by Margot Leicester. A superb performance is given by Lucinda Dryzek, who plays a snotty, revolting teenage girl of the sort we all dread to meet, but who at crucial moments collapses in helpless tears and turns out to be pathetic, with all her arrogance just a pose. Three other children are also very good, Lucinda's friend, and her younger half-brother and half-sister. The younger siblings may be very dim indeed as characters in the story (they seem unable to say anything particularly articulate, being hopeless witnesses to the disappearance), with little to recommend them but their sweet natures, but that is conveyed to wonderful effect by Lee Massey as the boy and Tyler Anthony as the girl. Harriet Walter has a small role, but we do not get to see much of her, which is a shame, as she is such a fine actress that she was wasted here. One could go on, but one must draw a line somewhere. The series manages to be strangely fascinating because of the depth of portrayal of all these essentially uninteresting people caught up in a web of intense anxiety and suspense.

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