The Slap, based on the controversial book by Christos Tsiolkas, is a proper slow-burning, tension-filled drama that will draw you in. When someone at a suburban barbecue slaps one of the other guests' children, there are consequences for everyone.
Among the very talented cast is Brit Sophie Okonedo, who recently chatted to reporters about her role in the show. Read on to find out what she had to say about her character Aisha, how she feels about the slap, and why she couldn't live in Australia...
Had you read The Slap before taking on the role?
"No, I hadn't. I started reading it while we were filming, then I thought, 'No', because my character Aisha was quite different so I just thought, 'Stick with the scripts'."
What attracted you to the show?
"Robert Connolly, who directed my episode, asked if I wanted to meet for coffee. I read the first two scripts and I thought, 'This is really interesting', and he explained to me what happened and that each character had their own episode and basically the way the story went. And I thought, 'Let's do it'. Sometimes I don't really know why I do things!
"I felt like this is a side of Australia I've not really seen. I've still got a very surfy image of Australia - Home and Away and Neighbours and also amazing films like Rabbit Proof Fence, there's that side as well. But this is a middle-class, suburban Australia I didn't really know about and I just thought that would be interesting.
"I didn't really have any strong feelings towards Aisha when I read it. I thought, 'Can I get away with playing an Australian?' I love a challenge like that. 'Will I fit in and not stand out?'"
Were you the only non-Australian?
"In the whole project! There was nobody else... I haven't watched any of it so I don't know how [my Australian accent] comes across!"
Aisha's portrayed as quite controlling in the first episode but her husband's quite immature. Did you feel empathy towards her?
"I always feel empathy towards my characters - it's the only way to go. I'm very different from Aisha so it was quite a stretch. I didn't really have much in common with her but I just try not to be judgemental about my own characters, because it really separates you from the character if you start thinking, 'Well, I don't think that's very nice'.
"There's no moral centre in The Slap. Normally you have one character where you think, 'Okay, we're on safe ground when they come on'. Here, you think there's one, then he or she will do something horrible - 'Oh f**k, they're not my moral compass!' There's no-one to really side with. None of us get off scot-free, all of us do something so awful. That was quite interesting - these characters do unlikable things, how do you navigate that?"
Aisha hides a lot of her feelings - was that hard to play?
"What was quite difficult was to bide my time until it got to my episode! You watch all the episodes and you're chomping at the bit to have your big scene. So by the time they got to film my episode I was raring to go - I kind of went a million miles an hour because I'd been waiting for two months in the background doing things. You try not to show it all - it's so tempting to show all that's going on."
Are you clear on where you, personally, stand on the slap?
"I don't believe in hitting children so I am quite clear about that. I don't think there's any reason to hit a child. I don't know if I would have gone down the course that Rosie [the child's mother] went, because I'm not sure that would be best for the child. I don't know what I would have done in those circumstances, but I was clear on the slap."
Different parents have such different views, don't they?
"People that hadn't read the book, I just mentioned what it was about and people always have a strong view. Friends of mine surprisingly said, 'Oh, maybe in some circumstances'. I have it in no circumstances, but that's just my view. Particularly slapping someone else's child!
"What's wonderful is you've got this child who's very trying. They could have easily made it all about this poor child, but you've got this trying child and everyone's like, 'Yes, shut him up!'"
The book was quite controversial - do you think the show will be?
"I didn't read too much around that because I was trying to stay in the world, but just from my reaction to friends when I described the story, if people watch it, it will cause a few heated discussions. I think in Australia it's really taken off - it's trending on Twitter and they've had panels debating it."
Did you get on well with Jonathan LaPaglia, who plays your husband?
"Yeah. My big close relationships were with Melissa [George] and Essie [Davis], the girls. I think he got more friendly with the boys. I don't think it was on purpose, but the people I hung out with were Melissa and Essie, partly because we lived near each other. Every time I spoke to Jonathan we were in these very strained scenes!"
There are a lot of scenes where you're not really saying anything, especially in your episode...
"I'm glad that came across because we were very keen to pull out dialogue. I didn't want to be a talking head, speaking what she's feeling - 'Maybe we can just do it with images'. I'm always keen to do that anyway, I think you can do a lot with the face. I don't think speaking always helps when you're filming.
"I think people do say less, that's just my instinct. So I'm always looking for ways to say less, not explain what's going on, leave the audience to decide what she might be thinking."
Do you feel in a good place with your career? You get to do so many different things.
"I do really enjoy my life, I have to say! I don't know how it's happened, but I go everywhere on my bike and no-one hassles me. I get to go everywhere and I get to play lots of different parts and I don't have the stress of being in tabloids.
"I don't know how. Do I orchestrate that? I'm not interested in doing the celebrity circuit. I rarely appear on television other than in character - I don't front television shows or do stuff where they research your ancestry. That's not for me because other people would know about my life and it's private - and I'd be less able to do all the other parts.
"You can't control it all. I never worry about having my photograph taken, because I think they're either going to pick a good picture or they're not. If they want a bad picture of you they'll find one of you where you're picking your nose! That's the way it is. So you just have to let go of it all really, and as I'm older that makes me much more relaxed."
It's great you love your job, but something like The Slap is really intense. Did you find it tough to film?
"I don't know. I don't really know any other way of being. I'm always this active and that's part of the job. And I have loads of time where I don't really do anything. I don't go from job to job, ever ever ever. I never have done, even if I have the opportunity to. I have massive gaps in between. Half the year I'm not working - that's how I want it. So I find the intensity okay because I have lots of times where I don't work."
So could you live in Australia?
"No, I am a total Londoner. I'm really British. I love being in Britain - not that I've really tried to live anywhere else! I wept when I got home [from Australia]. I was so happy to be back in London.
"I got on my bike straight away, cycled round, went up to the River Thames, the Tower of London, the Tate. Just going down Holloway Road, I was like, 'I'm home'. Holloway Road - it's a s**thole, isn't it? But I was like, 'These are my people, I'm from this tribe'. I got really homesick in Australia. I really loved it, but it's so far away. I'd go there more if it was nearer!"
The Slap begins on Thursday at 10pm on BBC Four in the UK and continues on Thursdays at 8.30pm on ABC 1 in Australia.