The Interrogation of Tony Martin
- TV Movie
A verbatim drama focusing on the 3 days farmer Tony Martin was questioned by police following the shooting of a 16 year old burglar who broke into his farmhouse in 1999. A story that split t... Read allA verbatim drama focusing on the 3 days farmer Tony Martin was questioned by police following the shooting of a 16 year old burglar who broke into his farmhouse in 1999. A story that split the nation. Was it self defence or murder?A verbatim drama focusing on the 3 days farmer Tony Martin was questioned by police following the shooting of a 16 year old burglar who broke into his farmhouse in 1999. A story that split the nation. Was it self defence or murder?
In August 1999, Norfolk farmer Tony Martin (played here by Steve Pemberton) was arrested and interviewed under caution, after a teenage burglar was shot dead at his home, Bleak House, an isolated, remote farmhouse, which had been the subject of numourous other break ins over a long period of time. DC Peters (Daniel Mays) and DS Newton (Stuart Graham) are left to contend with this curious, eccentric individual in the interrogation room, a man who behaves and reacts in a way they are unable to comprehend.
It's hard to believe it's been nearly twenty years since the Tony Martin saga first unfolded, and the nationwide uproar it inspired, calling into question the rights of homeowners to defend their property. I, for one, still regard the whole thing as one of the greatest travesties of justice this country has ever known, and another disturbing, enraging example of the establishment making a pariah of 'the local weirdo', someone they're too ignorant and uninformed to try and bother to understand, and hang out to dry in a disgusting attempt to boost their arrest and conviction rate (Christopher Jeffries being another prime example!), something I feel I've been a victim of in some way or another over the years.
This one off TV drama from director David Nath focuses on Martin's interrogation following his arrest, and so in itself makes for a kind of cynical, voyeuristic experiment, being that the primary focus of our attention is meant to be on how odd and unconventional this man ('freak') is (or else why not anyone else's interrogation???) While it's convincing in it's word for word, verbatim recreation of the interview, in the space of just an hour (with ad breaks in between!) it can't really get under the skin of Martin any more than this, and so just plays out pretty straightforwardly.
It concludes with none other than the real life Tony Martin returning to his old home, now all boarded up, for the first time since the 'crime.' While his attitude to the dead boy is pretty cold and unsympathetic, this will be perfectly understandable to most people. I would defy anyone to have reacted differently in his situation, and the whole arrest, interrogation, conviction and incarceration of this man is a stain on this country's national character. He's well played by Pemberton for the first half, and while it's constrained to what it can do, it still makes for interesting and informative viewing. ***
- Nov 21, 2018