‘Archie’ reviews round-up: ‘Charmingly cheesy’ Cary Grant drama ‘lacks depth’

ITV’s new mini-series Archie is now streaming!

The four-part period drama stars Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs as Archie Leech, better known by his stage name… Cary Grant.

Written by Jeff Pope (Philomena, Stan & Ollie), Archie explores the fascinating true story behind Hollywood’s greatest leading man, revealing how “deceit, cruelty and one, overpowering lie” shaped the star’s life.

Watch a clip here:

Born in Bristol, England in 1904, the young Archibald Alexander Leach left his troubled childhood and extreme poverty behind to lead timeless movies like NotoriousNorth By Northwest, and To Catch a Thief.

Alongside Jason Isaacs, the cast also includes Laura Aikman (Gavin and Stacey) as Cary Grant’s ex-wife, Dyan Cannon, Harriet Walter (Downton Abbey) as his mother, Elsie Leach, and Kara Tointon from Mr Selfridge playing Elsie in her younger years.

Other familiar faces in the cast include Jason Watkins (The Crown), Niamh Cusack (The Virtues), Henry Lloyd-Hughes (Ragdoll), Ian Puleston-Davies (DI Ray), Ian McNeice (Doc Martin), and Lisa Faulkner (EastEnders).

All four episodes of Archie are available to watch in the UK from Thursday 23 November on ITV’s streaming service ITVX.

We’ve rounded up a selection of spoiler-free reviews here to help you decide if the series is worth watching:


“A solid, if inevitably insufficient, portrait of a still-enigmatic Hollywood legend. It doesn’t completely get under Cary Grant’s skin — but Jason Isaacs’ thoughtful, transformative performance makes it worth the attempt.” ★★★ – Empire


“Jason Isaacs is great as Cary Grant, but this four-part biopic is lacking in both depth and nuance…

“…for the most part, Archie is hesitant in its probing and lacking in both depth and nuance, merely sketching out the most obvious beats of Grant’s story.” ★★ – iNews


“The main weakness is the drama’s attempts to recreate Hollywood on an ITV budget. No amount of bright sunshine can convince us that we’re really looking at California…

“This all adds a level of cheap artifice to a drama which, in its examination of the real man behind the persona, is trying to strip the artifice away.” ★★★ – The Telegraph


“ITV’s Cary Grant series is an affair to forget … This biopic, starring Jason Isaacs, tears down the image we know of the adored leading man – but fails to offer a convincing alternative.” ★★ – The Independent


“This charmingly cheesy four-part bio-drama profiles five phases of the Hollywood star’s life courtesy of stunning performances – which plunge into the actor’s dark depths.” ★★★★ – The Guardian


“Chutzpah, desperation or total insanity? This cheesy series starring Jason Isaacs fails to capture the glamour of Grant and 1960s Hollywood.” – New Statesman


Archie premieres on BritBox internationally next month, and will air on ITV1 in the UK in 2024.

Cary Grant: The Collection is available on DVD on Amazon.