James Nesbitt hailed for role of his life in The Missing... now the only thing that's missing is award
Give that man a Bafta. That was the call after James Nesbitt wowed viewers with his powerful portrayal of a father looking for his young son in the BBC drama The Missing.
The tense series came to a climax on Tuesday night - and while many fans felt cheated and confused by the ending, there was universal praise for the Northern Ireland actor.
Nesbitt received acclaim from fans and television critics alike for his turn as Tony Hughes, the father who refuses to give up trying to find out the fate of his young son, who went missing during a family holiday in France.
It has been hailed as his finest moment in a long acting career - while many are predicting it will lead to a Bafta for the Coleraine man.
On social media outlets such as Twitter there was a groundswell of calls for him to get the nod from the British Academy.
A viewer called Duke McLonnell tweeted: "The final episode of The Missing was powerful. One of the harshest endings to a series ever. James Nesbitt must be in line for a Bafta." And fan Benji Kirk also posted: "James Nesbitt in The Missing is hauntingly fantastic. Definitely a Bafta-winning performance to say the least."
Emma Forth tweeted: "James Nesbitt is beyond amazing: he better win every Bafta going for that performance!" while Laura-Jane Jones tweeted: "Bafta look no further, James Nesbitt was simply outstanding throughout."
Nesbitt has won awards for work such as his roles in hit TV show Cold Feet and the film Bloody Sunday.
The 49-year-old has so far remained quiet on what he thought of the meaning of the final twist of the eight-part series, which left viewers gripped by his quest to find his five-year-old son Oliver.
The final episode revealed that the child, who was believed to have been abducted, was accidentally run over by a drunk-driver, who mistakenly believed he had been killed.
The plot showed how Oliver was then later murdered by the man tasked with disposing of the body. But viewers were left in doubt after Tony Hughes was finally seen in Russia, being dragged away from a boy who looked like his son.
A leading BBC executive also took to Twitter to praise Nesbitt.
Director of BBC Television, Danny Cohen said: "Incredible work from Jimmy Nesbitt."
The BBC has revealed there will be another series based on The Missing theme with a fresh case, new characters and locations.
It is understood it will not revisit the story of the Hughes family.
Charlotte Moore, controller at BBC One, said: "The Missing surprised at every turn, weaving a gripping and complex story across two timescales which kept viewers guessing till the very end and demonstrated the range and ambition of drama on BBC One.
"I'm really pleased to announce that the incredible team behind the series will bring a new case to our BBC One audience and we can guarantee another challenging, contemporary story written by Harry and Jack Williams."
Ben Stephenson of BBC Drama said: "Harry and Jack Williams' original drama series has had the nation gripped for the last eight weeks and has proved both a critical and ratings hit with our BBC One audience.
"With a brand new and fresh case ahead - we can't wait to learn what Harry and Jack have in store for series two."
The first series of The Missing won rave reviews and had become must-see TV for more than seven million people each week.
It recently received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, as well as Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for Frances O'Connor.
‘He’s been fantastic, the best I’ve seen him act’
James Nesbitt’s performance of dad Tony Hughes frantically searching for his son in The Missing has gone down a treat with most of those we polled on the streets of Belfast yesterday.
Minnie Travers (72) from Belfast said: “I thought he was brilliant. I love him anyway. He played the part very well.”
Gail Baylis (56,) from Portstewart said: “I have watched all of it. It’s the best I have seen him act. I thought the whole premise of the story was very good.”
Elizabeth Connor (63) from Carryduff said: “I thought he was absolutely fantastic. James Nesbitt deserves to win a Bafta.”
Carla Miskelly (18,) from Belfast said: “I have tried to avoid hearing about the story as I have still to watch the final. People are talking about it all the time.”
Henry McAuley (63,) from Belfast said: “I recorded it and watched it last night after I came home from the Opera House where Aladdin was on. I thought Nesbitt played the part well, it was excellent.”