If you hear the words Nick Love and gangster TV series, you could be forgiven for getting the wrong idea about Sky Max’s new series A Town Called Malice.

Director Love is best known for his gangster collaborations with Danny Dyer (The Business, Outlaw and The Football Factory) and if you enjoy the swaggering geezers and strutting machismo of those films, you will certainly find elements of his trademark thrills and East End attitude scattered throughout this show.

However, what you wouldn’t be expecting is Black Lace, Boney M and Dollar. You will raise your eyebrows as Dougray Scott sings along to Spandau Ballet. And you'll choke on your Tia Maria when the crime family at the centre of the series, The Lords, frequently break into song and dance routines to 80s power ballads and pop classics.

A Town Called Malice key art

A Town Called Malice swaps grittiness and grey for a vibrant, sun-soaked, rose-tinted look back at the 1980s, exploring the era that gave us the ‘fake it till you make it' lifestyle, which feels strangely timely for the TikTok and Influencer generation.

The eight-part drama series is a love story (with a killer twist) between youngsters Gene Lord (Jack Rowan) and Cindy Carter (Tahirah Sharif) which runs parallel with Gene’s family’s attempts to rebuild their criminal empire and name on the Costa Del Sol.

Although the Lord family's criminal activity is dominated by Jason Flemyng’s short-tempered patriarch Albert and his three sons – Leonard (Lex Shrapnel), Kelly (Daniel Sharman) and Gene (Jack), the real power resides in Martha Plimpton’s instantly iconic Mint Ma.

Martha Plimpton as Mint Ma in A Town Called Malice

While the men are crumbling behind their fist-throwing façade, Plimpton, Sharif and Eliza Butterworth, who plays Leonard Lord’s wife Carly, are the powerhouses driving the story forward and taking the series in surprising directions.

The musical interludes, stunning Tenerife coastline and outrageous costume department (just how short could shorts get back then?) make A Town Called Malice a sugar-rush of escapism and nostalgia.

Whether this version of the 80s ever really existed is a question for another day. Once the Lords land in Spain,  you’ll soon be swept up in the fun, sun and singing along to Video Killed the Radio Star before you know it.

Stream every episode of A Town Called Malice on Sky Max with NOW.

A Town Called Malice soundtrack - Every song in the show

A Town Called Malice - Meet the cast

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