Rules of the Game Maxine Peake
TV

Rules of the Game on BBC One: What the hell was Maxine Peake thinking?

Viewers have switched off from the new so-called thriller

Rules of the Game continues on BBC One this week, but some viewers have already switched off from the Maxine Peake so-called thriller.

Which leaves us wondering, why the HELL Maxine Peake agreed to lead the cast of the mediocre four-part series in the first place?

Maxine is one of the most respected actors on TV right now.

But even the excellent Maxine can’t elevate this “disappointing drama”.

Maxine Peake
Rules of the Game is sadly not the peak of Maxine’s career (Credit: BBC One)

Read more: Rules of the Game: 8 burning questions after episode one

Rules of the Game Maxine Peake – what was she thinking?

Maxine Peake doesn’t need to prove she can act.

We know she can – and she’s by far the best thing in BBC One’s Rules of the Game.

The Manchester-born actress recently proved her worth – again! – in the ITV1 drama Anne.

She starred as Anne Williams in the heartbreaking drama about the Hillsborough Disaster.

So perhaps that’s why her appearance in Rules of the Game seems so surprising in comparison.

Maxine Peake as Sam in Rules of the Game on BBC One

Maxine is totally convincing as Sam Thompson in Rules of the Game.

She’s a complicated, ballsy, unlikeable and brittle character who is all too believable.

Haven’t we all worked with someone like Sam?

But sadly, Maxine’s brilliant performance is arguably let down by clanky dialogue, clichéd plot lines, and some of the acting around her (we name no names).

Of course, Alison Steadman‘s all-too-brief appearance in episode one was probably the most exciting two minutes in the whole hour.

It feels like a thriller by numbers, and many viewers have already switched off.

Rules of the Game BBC One
Rules of the Game promised to be addictive viewing – but hasn’t quite lived up to it (Credit: BBC One)

Read more: Rules of the Game actress Rakhee Thakrar – aka Maya – reveals struggles after leaving EastEnders

Rules of the Game viewers’ verdict

While some viewers were willing to give Rules of the Game the benefit of the doubt after episode one, others weren’t so forgiving.

One wrote: “Saw that the excellent Maxine Peake was in the new BBC drama #RulesofTheGame and had to watch.

“But some (quite a bit) of the acting from other cast members is truly awful!”

Another added: “Right. I’ve thought about it for 10 minutes, and can only conclude that #RulesOfTheGame really was crap.”

A third seethed: “This is now officially terrible. No structure, no tension, low rent motivation, leaden dialogue.”

“It’s a combination of the acting, the script, the believability, the likeability of anybody in it – and the fact that, that’s an hour of your life you’re not going to get back?” wrote another. “Who cares what happens to anybody in #RulesOfTheGame?”

Others called it “ludicrous” and “stupid”, and one spoke for many when they wrote: “I’m not feeling this so far despite the undeniable talent in it #RulesOfTheGame.”

Rules of the Game Maxine Peake review

The Independent says that the “Maxine Peake drama Rules of the Game fails to capture the nuance of abusive workplaces”.

Critic Ed Cumming wrote: “Have we achieved peak Peake?

“Over on ITV, Maxine Peake has been doing sensitive, heartbreaking work as a grieving Hillsborough mother in the worthwhile if tough-going Anne.

“Now, completing the Twin Peakes, she pops up on the BBC to star in Rules of the Game, a four-episode drama about an abusive workplace.

“Peake holds Rules of the Game together. […]  But too often, the script and performances have all the subtlety of a boss’ hand up a skirt at the Christmas do.”

The Metro agreed, writing: “Even Maxine Peake can’t save uninspired #MeToo drama Rules of the Game.”

However, the Guardian loved it.

Lucy Mangan wrote: “Maxine Peake is barnstorming in a rich, meaty murder mystery.

“There’s more than workplace sexual politics at stake in this tale of harassment, porn and misogyny: this excellent drama is about the reality of women everywhere.”

Our advice is to watch HBO’s Industry – also available on BBC iPlayer – for a grittier version of similar themes.

All episodes of Rules of the Game are currently available on BBC iPlayer. Episode two airs on Wednesday January 12 2022 at 9pm on BBC One.

What did you think of Rules of the Game? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.