This is a dramatisation of the real-life investigation into the notorious Yorkshire Ripper murders of the late 1970s, showing the effect that it had on the health and career of Assistant ... See full summary »
Part 1:- Trainee social worker Janet Leach is asked by Gloucester police to be the appropriate adult at the interrogation of a simple-minded suspect. He is Fred West, who, with his wife Rosemary, is accused of killing their daughter and burying her in their garden at 25, Cromwell Street. West claims the death was accidental and his wife knew nothing of it. However grisly details gradually come to light and West owns to nine other murders, of girls who stayed at his house. Janet soon finds herself intimidated by the intensity of the situation, gutter press approaches to which her bi-polar husband succumbs and the foul-mouthed threats of Rosemary West. But just as disturbing is the rapport which Fred believes he has with her, terming her his only friend and confessing to her things he will not tell the police. Written by
don @ minifie-1
The photos of the victims on the police investgation board, were not of the actual victims of Fred and Rose West. See more »
Disclaimer in opening titles: "This is a true story. What follows is based on extensive research, interviews and published accounts. Some scenes have been created for the purposes of dramatisation." See more »
Naturally uneasy viewing, but will be more revealing to those just watching to be voyeurs
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
Given popular culture's fixation with crime and particularly topics such as serial murderers, it was an inevitability that eventually a film (a TV movie, at least) would be made about the crimes of Fred and Rose West. It was even more inevitable that there would be an out cry that it would glamorize and thus cheapen the real life murders. But, the producers of Appropriate Adult took a novel approach and chose to focus not on the actual murders themselves, but, as the title suggests, the AA that it was felt needed to sit in during Fred West's police interviews on account of his apparent 'learning difficulties.' That woman was Janet Leach, played here by Emily Watson, who went on to sell her story to the tabloids but who also appeared to suffer a certifiable breakdown, after seemingly forming a bond with West, falling under his dark spell. In doing so, it casts an interesting light on the case, bringing up facts that I certainly didn't know before seeing it (i.e. Rose West being a prostitute) and serving to make an unpleasant tale even more unsavoury.
As West, Coronation Street star Craig Charles had been in the running to play the role, but it appears to have gone to The Wire star Dominic West. I've never watched that show, so I can't compare him with what he's probably known best for, but he manages to bring West to life with an eerie darkness all of his own, interspersing his usual barrage of matter of fact recollections of his heinous crimes with the occasional emotional breakdown that reveals a vaguely human side to such a monster. It's his everyman appearance in general that makes him such an unnerving character. In support, Watson also seems like an eerily credible person, a woman desperately trying to stay professional in spite of hearing first hand accounts of crimes she can't accept are humanly possible, while still forming a bond with the perpetrator of these sick crimes.
A drama about West was always going to be in the pipe line for one day, and this is a sensitively handled and none voyeuristic handling, that is relevant, enlightening and of course, very disturbing. ****
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