BBC2: PREMIERE Sunday 20 December, 8.20pm
Boston cop David Lyons is hot under the collar for fugitive Julianne Hough, who’s hiding out in the picket-fence town of Southport, North Carolina. Handsome young widower Josh Duhamel eventually unlocks the secret that haunts her in a vapid variation on Sleeping With the Enemy (without the tension or twisted humour, but with added cute kids, anodyne country pop songs, and more montages than a Rocky movie).
Dear John director Lasse Hallström ticks the requisite boxes for a safe-as-milk-and-cookies romantic ‘thriller’, produced by author Nicholas Sparks from his patented Notebook collection. Everything’s set to mild, especially the derangement and, even by Sparks’ standards, the ‘gotcha!’ ending’s shameless.