Revolves around the true story of a fateful night in August 1985 when five members of the same family are murdered at an Essex farmhouse, and the ensuing police investigation and court case that follows.
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While attending an online forensic course, young lab assistant discovers that the fictitious case study has a link to her past. With a help of two female professors she works on bringing a killer to justice.
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The main characters were not listed in the closing credits. Instead the actors (but not their character names) were listed in the opening titles, and the closing credits only listed the minor characters. See more »
This six part BBC drama follows the channel's success two years before of its earlier treatment of another significant British historical/political scandal in the Houses of Parliament, the Jeremy Thorpe / Norman Scott affair. However, even as the years recede, ownership of that word scandal still belongs primarily to John Profumo, the Conservative war minister caught up in a sex scandal revolving around his involvement with the young Christine Keeler.
Conveniently, it seems, waiting until the last of the major players in this act had expired, being Ms Keeler herself in 2018, the way was clear for a pretty much no-holds barred expose of the crisis that with its accusations of sleaze at the highest levels of government arguably fatally winged Prime Minister Harold MacMillan's government of the day so that a bare year later he had resigned and the Tories 13 year long reign of power was ended by Labour under Harold Wilson.
Christine Keeler's own actual court trial for perjury doesn't occur until the final episode but the title of the series makes us aware that she herself was perpetually on trial in the public eye as she came under constant scrutiny the minute her involvement with both Profumo and Russian spy Yevgeny Ivanov came to light. Christine met both men at debauched parties convened by osteopath Stephen Ward to high society gents where he put attractive young women like her and her even younger friend Mandy Rice Davies in the way of middle aged men of wealth, title and influence.
In the aftermath of the story dragging Profumo onto the front pages of the all-powerful national press of the day, he of course lost his position, Keeler and Davies ended up in jail but not after making comparative fortunes from selling their stories to the papers and of course the main victim in the fall-out was Ward, who was effectively made society's scapegoat and firstly saw his profitable medical practice as well as his sideline work as a portrait artist collapse when his former friends in high places conveniently abandoned him. He then found himself on trial himself on trumped-up charges for living off so-called immoral earnings of Keeler and Davies. Railroaded by the police and at the mercy of a partial judge, he was bound to be found guilty prompting him to take the overdose which killed him before his verdict was inconsiderately delivered in absentia.
The direction, even though it sometimes confused with its plethora of flashbacks which sometimes disjointed the narrative, and acting throughout I thought was of a high standard by its largely well-cast ensemble, with perhaps just a few exceptions, commendably fleshing out the story. Of these, I felt that Emilia Fox as Profumo's pitiable actress wife and Neil Morrissey as Keeler's money-grabbing dad were miscast and out of their depth, while in the wider narrative I was surprised that at no stage in the story did P.M. MacMillan make an appearance.
The three main parties to the story of Keeler, Davies and Ward were excellently played by Sophie Cookson, Ellie Bamber and James Norton and even if Ben Miles didn't look much like the real Profumo, he certainly conveyed the man's privileged cake-and-eat-it hauteur, until he was caught literally with his pants down.
All in all, this seemed to me a realistic and fascinating dramatisation of a story which still resonates today and the watching of which, particularly its imbalanced treatment of the main players, still makes the blood boil today.
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