National Treasure (2016 TV series)

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National Treasure
Based onOperation Yewtree
Written byJack Thorne
Directed byMarc Munden
Composer(s)Cristobal Tapia de Veer
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes4 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)John Chapman
Production location(s)
Production company(s)The Forge
Original networkChannel 4
Original release20 September (2016-09-20) –
11 October 2016 (2016-10-11)
External links
The Forge

National Treasure is a four-part 2016 British television drama by Channel 4, written by Jack Thorne.

It stars Robbie Coltrane as Paul Finchley, a television comedian accused of raping a 15-year-old girl several years earlier. Julie Walters plays his wife Marie, and Andrea Riseborough plays his daughter Dee.

The drama is inspired by Operation Yewtree, a police operation that resulted in the prosecution of a number of veteran TV performers.[1][2]

National Treasure received universal acclaim from critics, with a Metacritic rating of 83 out of 100 based on 17 reviews.[3]

Having 'captured people's imagination', the series was cited as an influence on a 2017 novel by Guy Mankowski, entitled An Honest Deceit.[4]



Episode 1[edit]

  • Air date 20 September 2016
  • After an awards ceremony, veteran comedian Paul Finchley is arrested on suspicion of raping Rebecca Thornton in 1993. This has a hard impact on him and his family. His Catholic[5] wife, Marie, is horrified and his drug addict daughter, Dee, cannot take it in. Paul's life goes into a downward spiral as he is dropped from his presenting duties and to make matters worse, he faces more charges as more women come forward, including an under-age victim.[6]

Episode 2[edit]

  • Air date 27 September 2016
  • Dee begins to wonder if her father, Paul, was abusing her as a child. She attempts to confront her former babysitter, Christina, who has formally accused Paul. Flashback sequences show that Christina introduced Dee to drugs. On deciding that Paul is innocent, Dee crashes her car in a suicide attempt.

Episode 3[edit]

  • Air date 4 October 2016
  • Marie is confronted by Rebecca in the Ladies toilet. She starts questioning Paul's innocence. Paul is advised by his barrister to claim he had consensual sex with Rebecca.[7] Marie starts wondering why she has stayed married to Paul, despite his numerous extra-marital affairs.[8]

Episode 4[edit]

  • Air date 11 October 2016
  • Paul's trial takes place. Marie has sex with Karl, Paul's comedy partner. Paul is cleared of historical rape and sexual assault charges. However, in a twist, viewers are left up in the air whether he is guilty or not. A flashback sequence confirms that he did have sex with his daughter's 15-year-old babysitter (the age of consent in the UK is 16), and he had very rough sex with Rebecca on a television set. Karl was outside the caravan where the alleged rape took place, and overheard Rebecca's screams but it is implied this was part of role play; however he decides to believe Paul is totally innocent in court, as he feels guilty about lusting after and finally sleeping with Paul's wife.[9] After the verdict, it is implied that Marie leaves Paul, and his relationship with Dee seems strained.[10]


  1. ^ Plunkett, John (25 August 2015). "Channel 4 launches drama inspired by Operation Yewtree investigations". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  2. ^ Ross, Peter (6 September 2016). "'This is for the people who were abused': Robbie Coltrane on his Yewtree-inspired drama". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  3. ^ "National Treasure: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  4. ^ "10 Things I Want My Readers To Know About Me: Guy Mankowski". Female First. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  5. ^ "Julie Walters: why National Treasure isn't about Jimmy Savile". RadioTimes. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  6. ^ "National Treasure - what time is it on TV? Episode 1 Series 1 cast list and preview". RadioTimes. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  7. ^ "National Treasure review: Julie Walters steals the show". Digital Spy. 2016-10-04. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  8. ^ "National Treasure - what time is it on TV? Episode 3 Series 1 cast list and preview". RadioTimes. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  9. ^ Binding, Lucia (2016-10-12). "National Treasure comes to a shocking end as Paul Finchley's court verdict is revealed". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  10. ^ "National Treasure delivers its verdict on Robbie Coltrane's Paul Finchley". RadioTimes. Retrieved 2016-12-31.

External links[edit]