the child in time
The Child in Time starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly Macdonald BBC

With Hollywood star Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead male role of children's author Stephen Lewis, viewers had high expectations for the BBC1 film The Child in Time, based on Ian McEwan's Whitbread Prize-winning novel.

Cumberbatch is confronted with the unthinkable in his role as successful writer Stephen when he loses his only child, four-year-old Kate, in a supermarket.

The film, shown on Sunday night (24 September), explores a marriage devastated by the loss of a child as they come to terms with their daughter being gone, disconnecting Stephen from his wife Julie (Kelly Macdonald). Distraught Stephen still finds himself conducting daily, futile searches for Kate and is haunted by the traumatising moment that tore his family apart.

One heart-wrenching scene showed Stephen following a little girl into school, believing he had found his daughter at last. Strange things arose when the Prime Minister wanted to see Stephen, and his friend, junior minister Charles Darke, became a recluse – playing odd soldier games in the woods.

Charles later hung himself in a shocking scene, and the drama ended with Julie giving birth to "a brother" for Kate, with the couple being overjoyed. Viewers remained confused as to Kate's whereabouts and were frustrated that loose ends were left untied.

One took to Twitter to say: "The child in time has me confused? The story line is all over the place".

Another tweeted the BBC: "Hi @BBCOne. You need to have a long, hard look at yourselves because The Child In Time was utter garbage. I'll never get those 90 mins back."

A third added: "What even happened in the child in time? I feel I wasted an hour and a half " as someone else added: "Am I the only one that thinks The Child In Time is absolute shit".

A few memes about the film also made it onto Twitter...

If you missed The Child in Time, watch it on BBC iPlayer.