Collision (TV series)

Collision is a five-part British television drama serial, which debuted on ITV in November 2009. In the same month, it was also on PBS as a series in two parts. It tells the story of a group of strangers whose lives intertwine following a devastating car crash. The crash opens a number of startling revelations as stories of everything from government cover-ups and smuggling, to embezzlement and murder start to unravel.[1][2][3]

Created byAnthony Horowitz
Written byAnthony Horowitz and Michael A. Walker
Directed byMarc Evans
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes5
ProducerEve Gutierrez and Jill Green
Running time46 mins (inc. adverts)
Production companyGreenlit Productions
Original networkITV, STV, UTV
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release9 November (2009-11-09) –
13 November 2009 (2009-11-13)

The series is open-ended, with a number of unresolved issues; moreover, the story is ostensibly resolved in a metafictional manner with a flashback to an incident in the service station and the swatting of a wasp, which precipitates the initial crash, thus allowing the characters to continue on their journeys. The wasp as a motif and theme is frequently in evidence throughout the series.

The original British broadcast of Collision was edited from the original 5 hours (shown in five parts) down to three and a half hours (210 minutes, shown in two parts). The American broadcast on PBS's Masterpiece Contemporary, the Australian broadcast on ABC1 and the Region 1 (America and Canada) DVD release all featured the shortened version.[4] In Australia, Foxtel and Austar's W Channel aired Collision in its original format of five 45-minute episodes (excluding advertisements), Tuesday, 15 March 2011.[5]



Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate
1"Episode 1"Anthony Horowitz and Michael A. WalkerMarc Evans8.409 November 2009 (2009-11-09)
DI John Tolin returns from leave to investigate a traffic collision where two people have died. His superiors have concerns as the two traffic officers were in a high-speed chase at the time of the collision and the department is now being sued by Alice Jackson's family. Jackson was in the car being pursued, and was killed, and the family thinks racial profiling might be involved in choosing her car to pursue. All of the victims of the crash and the first layer of their back stories are introduced, but nothing is as it first seems. There is a strong hint that Tolin's leave was due to some sort of tragedy, and that it might involve events similar to this investigation. The episode ends with Tolin, in his office, imagining the crash itself.
2"Episode 2"Anthony Horowitz and Michael A. WalkerMarc Evans7.1310 November 2009 (2009-11-10)
DI Tolin goes to the scene, where the office in charge of the investigation is Insp. Ann Stallwood. Tolin and Stallwood had a relationship a year earlier, which went sour and seems related to events linked to Tolin's having taken leave. The backstory of Danny Rampton, driver of a white van, indicates he is transporting something illegal, and dealing with shady characters. A PC at the crash scene mentions Jackson's car window being rolled down while the air conditioning was on, leading Tolin to deduce that Jackson was smoking pot, as was her boyfriend, the driver. Jackson's father drops the lawsuit, pleasing the police administration. They want to reassign him to a new case. Tolin, though, wants to investigate other matters and tie up loose ends. It is also revealed that Tolin has a daughter in a wheelchair.
3"Episode 3"Anthony Horowitz and Michael A. WalkerMarc Evans6.9911 November 2009 (2009-11-11)
The driver of a white van that crashed, Danny Rampton, who ran from the scene, is found to be trafficking illegal immigrants. The one in his van, Tsegga, is found a week later, dead, by police forensics working on the vehicles. There is a back story about him, his journey, and his wife, who is in London and waiting for him. Karen Donnelly, the personal secretary at a large chemical company, had stolen documents from her boss revealing exploitation of East Africa and dangerous pesticide use just before being involved in the crash. With the help of unknown people she checks out of the hospital and is later found in the bathtub of her apartment, an apparent suicide. Tolin is not so sure. Jane Tarrant, a waitress at a rest stop near the accident, begins a dalliance with a rich businessman Richard Reeves.
4"Episode 4"Anthony Horowitz and Michael A. WalkerMarc Evans7.2512 November 2009 (2009-11-12)
It is revealed that a drunk driver killed Tolin's wife a year before and put his daughter in a wheelchair. The driver, Henry, is released from prison and seeks forgiveness from Tolin. Tolin beats the man up when he won't leave Tolin's home. In a conversation with his daughter about the incident it is revealed that Tolin was having an affair with Stallwood at the time. Sandra Rampton, Danny's sister-in-law who sees Danny as a screw up jeopardising her family, arranges for Danny to get a passport so he can disappear, but the traffickers kill him instead. It is implied that Sandra knew that this, and not the passport, would be the result. Karen Donnelly had stolen documents for a reporter, but he might not be who he told Donnelly he is. Jane Tarrant's relationship with Richard Reeves gets more serious.
5"Episode 5"Anthony Horowitz and Michael A. WalkerMarc Evans7.4813 November 2009 (2009-11-13)
Joyce Thompson is the mother of Christine Edwards. Thompson died while in a car with Brian Edwards, Christine's husband. Her death puts a strain on the marriage. Mrs. Edwards blames him, and it is slowly revealed how much Mr. Edwards hated his mother-in-law and how she treated Ms. Edwards. Finally, he admits that, after the crash, Mrs. Thompson was alive but her nagging voice pushed him to slam her head against the dashboard repeatedly. Jane Tarrant and Richard Reeves decide to leave their partners and travel to Europe, but Reeves' wife shows up at the station instead to tell Tarrant that her husband has made promises before but will never leave; he's a coward. Tarrant screws up her courage and goes anyway, living her dream. Tolin finds a thumb drive on Karen Donnelly's keychain that contain the stolen documents. After revealing the man Donnelly thought was a reporter is not, Tolin gives the documents to the real Guardian reporter the man was impersonating to give Donnelly's death—and the risk she took to reveal injustice—meaning. Previously, throughout, it's hinted at that Sidney Norris, the piano instructor and main cause of the accident, might be a paedophile. (However this is just another red herring, as ...) Tolin and Stallwood track down a suspicious friend of Norris' only to discover their "secret" is that they have bootleg Star Trek episodes, which explains the amount of time Norris spent on his computer. Tolin and Stallwood reconcile, with Tolin finally coming to peace with his wife's death. In the end, Stallwood realises Norris was distracted by a wasp, causing the collision and consequent entire change in the sequence of events. The last scene is an alternative timeline 'what if' : showing that if Tarrant, back at the roadside diner, had squashed the wasp (as almost seen in the first episode) and the entire crash had been avoided, as they all continued on their 'pre-existing' path...


  1. ^ "Collision ITV Drama Series". Douglas Henshall. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  2. ^ "ITV greenlights Anthony Horowitz 'collision' drama | TV Scoop". TV Scoop. 18 July 2008. Archived from the original on 12 August 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  3. ^ [1] Archived 1 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Knox, David. "Airdate: Collision". TV Tonight. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
  5. ^ [w Channel: Collision Synopsis|"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)]
  6. ^

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