3 items from 2010
One of the strangest things about true stories is that they are often difficult to believe. So I'm glad I never had to pitch my TV drama U Be Dead as a piece of fiction. Exciting? Yes, amazingly so. But credible? Puh-lease.
The story fell into my lap in August 2007. I read in a newspaper about an Argentinian shop assistant called Maria Marchese, accused of stalking London psychiatrist Jan Falkowski for two years, promising mayhem whenever he and his fiancee, Debra Pemberton, married. Pemberton, a 35-year-old accountant, was told by text she would be burnt in her wedding dress. Another message read: "U be dead." Another: "Your life will end, gunman paid."
Falkowski and Pemberton took desperate action. »
One drama and two documentaries attempted to go to the heart of what it is to be Muslim in Britain, with varying degrees of success
Five Days was crammed with enough issues to keep Panorama in business for a year. In no particular order, it dealt with religion, divorce, senility, drug abuse, adoption, prostitution, parenting, asylum, race, nationalism, cultural and biological identity, and trainspotting. There was also a plot somewhere in there too, but it was rather like looking for spaghetti in a can of worms.
It's testament to Gwyneth Hughes's writing skills that for five consecutive evenings she was able to make that search seem nourishing, if not always appetising. Hughes was also the writer of the first Five Days, screened two years ago, which featured a storyline that took a week to play out and another week to work out. Many of the same narrative devices were »
- Andrew Anthony
8pm, Channel 4
It's a theory dearly cherished by righter-of-wing conspirazoids: that somewhere at the heart of Islam lurks a plot to undermine and overthrow western civilisation. It seems unlikely, but as Orwell reminded us, just because the Telegraph says something, doesn't mean it isn't true. This investigation by Andrew Gilligan unmasks an Islamist group which claims to be placing its "brothers" in positions of British political power with a view to headquartering their global caliphate here. He also meets British Muslims who appear unable to imagine anything worse, and are consequently trying to stop them.
Shown over successive weekday nights, writer Gwyneth Hughes's impressive crime drama returns for a second series. The plot this time around is keyed off by two incidents: a newborn baby is left in the toilets at a Yorkshire »
- Andrew Mueller, Jonathan Wright, Julia Raeside
3 items from 2010
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