6.5/10
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8 user 5 critic

The Shadow in the North (2007)

Sally Lockhart and friends investigate the disappearance of a steamship, a magician who is threatened by thugs, a psychic with dark visions, and heartless industrialist.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Axel Bellmann
Doña Croll ...
Nellie Budd (as Dona Croll)
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Nicholas Bedwell
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...
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Webster Garland
Antonia Pemberton ...
Miss Walsh
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...
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Alistair MacKinnon
Richard Clews ...
Mr. Windlesham
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Harris
Peter Whittington ...
...
Sackville
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Storyline

Sally Lockheart now runs her own financial consulting business, while her friends Fred and Jim have opened a detective agency. But when one of her clients looses money over a vanishing steamship, Sally and the young detectives join forces again. The mystery leads them to threatened stage magician and a medium with a dark vision. Sally must also face an old enemy. Written by L. Hamre

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30 December 2007 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

La sombra del norte  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Former Doctor Who companion Billie Piper (for the 9th & 10th Doctors) acts here with Matt Smith who would go on to become the 11th Doctor (after David Tennant). See more »

Connections

Follows The Ruby in the Smoke (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hmm...oddly unengaging considering the good story and talent
1 January 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In the second in Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart trilogy, his heroine Sally Lockhart, parentless and alone, has found a ramshackle, surrogate family in Fred Garland's photographer-cum-private investigator, his uncle, and cheeky cockney Jim Taylor. Protected by her enormous hound, Chaka, she is now a financial consultant, using the patchy education her father had given her to advantage and staunchly defending her independence in Victorian London. The story kicks off with two events: one of Sally's clients explains that she has been ruined by the failure of a business she invested in on Sally's advice. At the same time a magician named McKinnon seeks Fred's help as he believes he has witnessed a murder. These circumstances combine to make a thread that leads straight to a dangerous businessman and sinister work in a factory in the north, and great danger for all of Sally's friends.

I'd really enjoyed "The Ruby in the Smoke", the first of the adaptations of the brave and modern Sally Lockhart trilogy, when it aired on British TV last Christmas. I was very excited to hear a sequel was planned; thought the chemistry between the radiant Billie Piper's Sally and J J Field's pleasing Fred Garland had worked well, and the stories are strong base material, even if squished into a TV slot.

But...maybe it was watching this with my parents when it aired over New Year on British TV - but I found this strangely detached, even a bit mechanical. This time round the leads' chemistry seemed to be absent, the script dry, the story rushed (as was the previous one) - the relations between the characters insufficiently explained. Considering we'd had to wait a year for this one, I was a bit disappointed. Perhaps the aim was to make a classroom-suitable programme for Victorian History lessons? - if so, why air it post watershed?

I wouldn't mind watching it again to find out whether it was just a false first impression. Sally is the Victorian heroine girls need today; incidentally, I disagree with other reviewers' annoyance with her modern look - it's exactly this quality that makes her a perfect poster girl to draw younger viewers into historical fiction. Ditto the thoroughly enlightened casting policy, reflecting actual, modern British society in a way you'll hardly ever see in historical TV shows. I've got a lot of time for both leads; and the baddie, Bellmann, was quietly menacing. It also looked amazing, packed with great period details. If they make it to the third in the trilogy I'd be very surprised, but would hope that they can find a way to better draw out the drama and excitement. Meanwhile, the excellent original books are a must if you enjoyed this even a bit.


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