Login Register

Sky Atlantic's Fortitude: Episode one review

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the first feature-length episode of Fortitude

Michael Gambon as Henry Tyson
Michael Gambon as Henry Tyson

Does anybody else feel that chill?

The vast wilderness of the Arctic Circle whitewashed our TV screens tonight in Fortitude— and it turns out it's not just the local wildlife you should be concerned about.

From the gruesome opening shot of a man being eaten by a polar bear to the brutal murder of Professor Charlie Stoddart (Christopher Eccleston), the latest offering from Sky Atlantic is not for the faint-hearted.

Something very dark lurks beneath the pure, white snowy wilderness — and tonight's feature-length debut episode has left me with plenty of questions about what.


As governor Hildur Odegard (played by Sofie Grabol of The Killing fame) makes clear, Fortitude is a safe haven, a tight-knit community and (hopefully) the perfect holiday destination.

And while the breathtaking scenery and cheerful faces do uphold that illusion, it becomes apparent all too quickly that the small, isolated town is a powder keg waiting to go off.

Take search and rescue officer Frank Sutter, whose son ends up with frostbitten feet after he leaves him unattended for an adulterous quickie with Elena Ledesma.

And mysterious beauty Elena appears to have had a brush with the law — but what crime did she commit?

Ronnie Morgan (Johnny Harris) ends up in over his head after showing his mate Jason the allegedly pre-historic remains he found in the ice — has his desperation to provide for his daughter got him embroiled in murder?

And congratulations to Game of Throne's Richard Dormer for making his character Dan Anderssen, sheriff of Fortitude, genuinely unsettling to watch.

Why is he always on the scene when someone's died a horrible death? Henry Tyson (played by Dumbledore himself, Michael Gambon), made a fair point when he questioned why Sheriff Dan had magically appeared precisely after he shot the polar bear victim, even though no car engine or car door closing was heard.

And I make a point of never trusting a man that kills a poor, innocent dog without a second's thought.


Poor Vincent (Luke Treadaway). First he whacks his head after slipping in the sauna, then he's whisked off by the police after stumbling upon his boss's mutilated corpse, even though they know and he knows he didn't kill anybody.

It's a relief to see Stanley Tucci stroll into town as smooth, witty DCI Eugene Morton, unphased by Sheriff Dan's refusal to work with him and determined to shine a light on the whole mess.

No doubt you have as many questions as I do. Why did little Liam Sutter (Darwen Brokenbro) go wandering off in the snow, barefoot? Then Carrie Morgan (Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips was found wandering around the supermarket on her own by Shirley Allerdyce (Holmfirth's Jessica Gunning)...

Then there's the Ronnie and Jason debacle —even if Jason didn't attack the Prof, what does his death mean for their hopes of selling what they think is the thawed bones of a woolly mammoth?

And what's going to happen to terminally ill Henry now that he's refused palliative care on the mainland? (As a side note, watching Gambon run through a packed bar with a burning letter to a backdrop of thrash metal was utterly fantastic.)

Fortitude's gripping first episode has got the series off to a good start — and could prove a thrilling antidote to the January blues that come from being a bit skint, trying to lose those Christmas pounds and not really wanting to leave the house.

With Fortitude, you're airlifted into a town of few people and even fewer answers.

But there are countless personalities and questions to keep you warm each week — however dark and cold the story gets.

Will you be tuning in next week? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent