|Index||4 reviews in total|
Each of these individual one hour stories are captivating from start to
finish. Jimmy McGovern excels in tight scripts which gripped me with
their realism and pace. The series is further enhanced by fine English
Each episode begins with a person in a prison cell awaiting trial. Flashbacks build up to a crescendo as to why the accused is on trial and whether or not they will be found guilty. The concept is great for those who love a whodunnit type scenario, only this time it's did they didn't they. And even if they did, the complexities of the back story provides moral angles which make you the judge too. Lovely armchair stuff.
In a year when the BBC has had to generally tread carefully in its broadcasting post the faux pas by Ross and Brand on radio which caused thicker red tape to be introduced, this miniseries is one of the few stars in an otherwise cloudy darkness.
It is one of the few, if only, must see fictional programmes on British television today and I thoroughly recommend it.
'Accused', a series of six tough films scripted or co-scripted by Jimmy McGovern, strikes me as vaguely reminiscent of Alan Bleasdale's 'Boys From the Blackstuff'. What we have is a set of (essentially unconnected) intense dramas that effectively reflect the struggle of many ordinary Britons to survive and prosper. Each one ends in a court case; but it's not the gimmick that's important here. Most of these 21st century characters aren't desperately poor, in the way that Bleasdale's were, and McGovern lacks Bleasdale's political edge: these remain six random stories, without connecting narrative or theme. But there is some good writing, and also some great performances, from a portfolio of British character actors who know exactly how to do TV. It's not fun in the conventional sense, but its definitely worth a look.
A 10 episode limited anthology UK series. Each 1 hour story starts with
someone being taken from a holding cell into a courtroom, where they
will stand trial. Then we flashback into the story of what led them
there, all building up to a final verdict in court.
The most consistent strength of the series are the excellent performances. Christopher Eccleston, Sean Bean, Olivia Coleman, Juliet Stevenson are just a few of the top flight actors doing powerful, subtle and complex work.
The stories themselves are somewhat variable. A couple feel too on the nose, or heavy handed in their themes. But most are at least quite good, and a few are flat out terrific morally complicated, surprising, tense.
They are also mostly quite grim. Even the few episodes with 'happy' endings still leave characters dealing with loss, broken families, damaged souls. As in real life, a 'not guilty' verdict doesn't simply put all the broken pieces of a life back together again. Because of that consistently dark, sad tone, this series doesn't cry out for binge watching. That would risk sending one out the window But this is worthwhile, intelligently written, solidly directed television, and well worth a look.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The acting in this opening episode of the new series of The Accused was
superb, but the whole premise of the story was seriously flawed. Jimmy
McGovern appears to have little knowledge of the subject he is writing
about. Most transvestites are straight and enjoy the experience of
cross dressing with their female partners, and not just for sexual
gratification. Cross dressers do frequent gay bars but only because it
enables them to drink in a non- threatening environment. The idea that
a man like Simon/Tracie (Sean Bean) would drink in a city-centre bar
dressed like a cross between Mae West and Madonna is totally ludicrous.
What planet is Mr McGovern living on? It was not made clear exactly
what Tony (Stephen Graham) was doing when he visited Tracie. Were they
having sex, if yes then why not show it (perhaps McGovern didn't know
what they would do to each other). But why would Tracie start a
relationship with what was obviously a married man without discussing
it and laying down some ground rules? It just lacks credibility. But
perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this whole charade was the fact that
Tracie was having a relationship with a psychopath who would rather
violently stab his wife to death than tell her than he is gay - and not
just an ordinary gay man but one who likes older men in unconvincing
drag. Add to this ridiculous courtroom scene when Tracie addressed the
court in full drag and you have all the makings of a really bad drama.
There were so many embarrassing moments in this grubby little play: The scene where Tony tells Tracie he will only be seen out with her if she looks more convincing as a woman, the scene where Tracie visits Tony's wife for a makeover and stares at her breasts and the fact that Tracie agreed to go away with Tony after he publicly humiliated him. What does it all mean? It means that Jimmy McGovern is a lazy writer and should do his research properly. I feels sorry for the actors who are no doubt proud of their performances but should really have looked at the bigger picture.
The problem with a lot of McGovern's scripts is that he can't make up his mind what he is writing about. In this case Transvestism or murder. He takes a controversial subject or story (no doubt lifted from the pages of a Sunday newspaper, in this from 1978 judging by the out-of-date concept) and twists it to suit his limited experience. If he seriously wanted to write about cross-dressing then why not talk to some real cross-dressers and use their experience to tell the story. That would certainly be a lot more realistic that this tosh.
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