Two reviews have appeared online for the new series of Banished which begins on Thursday 5th March on BBC 2.

Filmed on location outside Sydney, the beautiful scenery belies a life of dirt, sweat and desperation. However it's not just the unforgiving landscape that conspires against them; tensions run high between the inhabitants confined to this remote outpost. Marston (Rory McCann of Game of Thrones fame) is a brutish bullying blacksmith while callous Major Ross (Joseph Millson) seems to take sadistic pleasure in punishing his charges. The prisoners are very much portrayed as the heroes and while Banished does plunder a few well-worn tropes (the tart with a heart, the code of silence) it's an absorbing tale of survival, mainly due to the quality cast.

What will ultimately determine whether Banished rises above the average is the strength of the performances and there are many strong ones on display here. Cultbox