The Child in Time

'The Child in Time' Recap

Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly Macdonald in "The Child in Time" (Photo: Courtesy of Pinewood Television, SunnyMarch TV and MASTERPIECE for BBC One and MASTERPIECE)

The Child in Time is one of those dramas that doesn’t turn out to be quite the story you think it is. On the surface, it’s a tale about a lost child. But, it also isn’t, in the most basic sense. The drama isn’t about the search for the missing Kate and it (spoiler alert!) offers little resolution about what happened to her. Her parents (spoiler alert, again!) don’t get her back. There’s no happy ending. She remains forever apart, both present and absent, a Schroedinger’s cat of a girl who is somehow both alive and dead for the purposes of this narrative. If you were looking for a crime thriller, a dramatic mystery or even a linear story that makes sense, you’re surely bound to be disappointed here.

Instead, The Child in Time is a meditation on loss and grief, telling the story of what it takes to move past the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. In short: It’s kind of a lot for an evening on Easter Sunday, though those that stick through it may find the performances contained within worthwhile. (Or, at least, I did.) The acting is top notch and the emotions feel gut-wrenchingly real. However, if you find yourself wishing the story perhaps spent a bit more time on Kate herself or the particulars behind her disappearance rather than the gamut of British political thought about child rearing or a weirdo subplot about a grown man’s descent into what appears to be childlike madness, trust me, you’re not alone.

Get Your First Look at Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘The Child in Time’

Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Child in Time". (Photo:  Courtesy of Pinewood Television, SunnyMarch TV and MASTERPIECE for BBC One and MASTERPIECE)

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is busy working on his next big project – and sadly, it’s not another season of the adventures of the great detective just yet. Instead he’s producing and starring in an small-screen adaptation of award-winning author Ian McEwan’s novel The Child in Time. Directed by Julian Farino, the drama is the first production of the actor’s new SunyMarch TV production company. 

Benedict Cumberbatch to Star in Ian McEwan's 'The Child in Time' for Masterpiece

Benedict Cumberbatch in "Sherlock" Season 4. (Photo: Courtesy of Laurence Cendrowicz/Hartswood Films & MASTERPIECE)

Benedict Cumberbatch is coming back to Masterpiece – just not in the exact way you might think. The Sherlock star is producing an adaptation of award-winning author Ian McEwan’s 1987 novel The Child in Time for BBC One and PBS.     

In addition to serving as executive producer, Cumberbatch will star as Stephen Lewis, a successful children’s book author whose daughter suddenly goes missing. Her disappearance devastates Stephen’s marriage, as he and his wife struggle to deal with grief, loss and hope in turns.

Per the official press release, this ninety-minute feature will be “a lyrical and heart-breaking exploration of love, loss and the power of things unseen.”