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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Back in 1987 Channel 4 led the UK in cutting edge dramas.
Last week we got episode one of "Secret State", allegedly 'loosely' based Alan Plater's superb adaptation of Chris Mullin's book "A Very British Coup". What a difference.
The premise was good, a Bhopal style disaster in Teeside, the casting included some of Britain's finest talent, and the production values were very good.
All this was completely wasted by a script that was puerile, full of clichéd soundbites, and by lousy directing and a cast of stock characters that would have made it into Michael Green's "The Art of Coarse Acting". We had a gonad crunching ambitious female politician, a smarmy yuppie-type ambitious politician, a drunken journo/ex-spook who knows where the metaphorical and possibly literal bodies are buried, and a young feisty journo who pops up with information nobody else has ever heard of.
Has Mr Jones never watched "Yes Minister" or "The Thick of It"?
His opening scenario was ludicrous. In real life the deputy PM would not be sitting in a local school hall being harangued by angry residents. That thankless task would have gone to some junior underling at the Energy Department.
Nor does a pathologist have the power to withhold bodies from being released for burial, that authority lies with the Coroner. If a pathologist had serious concerns about unexplained toxins in body tissue s/he would have consulted their colleagues in the Home Office. Nor would said pathologist be telephoning the Deputy PM as if that individual was the only person with authority in the entire governmental system.
Given the apparent assassination of the PM by a possible terrorist plot how did Ms Kane (alias Gina McKee) manage to get past security to speak to the Deputy PM at aforementioned PM's memorial service? Come to that, where WAS the security?
And why was the head of Intelligence doing her own surveillance work? Does she not have an entire government department dedicated solely for that purpose?
The whole thing seemed to be aimed at not very bright 14 year olds. Do the TV networks really think the viewing public is that dumb?
For shame Channel 4. You've exchanged your credibility for dumbed down broadcasting. You have the temerity to advertise dross like this as 'Drama' while your schedules are chock full of freak shows, crass talent shows, and the dregs of society being filmed in their 'natural habitat' in what passes for "reality" television.