hutch0 (hutch0) wrote,

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red riding, part two

And we're in 1980, having skipped 1977 - although the events of that book colour the events here. Once again, we marvel at the cast that's been assembled. The mighty Paddy Considine as Peter Hunter, doomed Assistant Chief Constable of the Manchester Constabulary, drafted in to investigate the conduct of the Yorkshire Ripper investigation in West Yorkshire. Jim Carter. James Fox. David Calder (that's how confident this series is - it brings in James Fox and David Calder for cameos) Maxine Peake. Peter Mullan, making a reappearance along with Warren Clarke and David Morrissey. Lesley Sharpe. Extraordinary.
We're in a dark place, a place I remember well. The Days Of The Ripper. He never killed in my home town - although he might have; he was finally arrested there, and if it hadn't been for a combination of luck and what was later termed `good coppering' Sheffield might have been one more stop on the Ripper Trail - but the Fear extended at least as far south as Sheffield.
But we're also in a place we don't know. In 1980 the Ripper's victims have different names to the ones in the real world. When he's arrested, it turns out that `Peter's' wife is named Monica, not Sonia. George Oldfield, the detective in charge of the Ripper investigation in real life, doesn't feature on the screen - although a `George Oldman' does in the book. The effect is strange, dislocating; it's as if we're suddenly being told that this is actually a parallel world.
New episode, new director. Since he filmed 1980, James Marsh has won an Oscar for the documentary Man On Wire, and, to my mind, he takes a different approach with his slice of the story. Where 1974 was unremittingly deep and dark and despairing, I thought 1980 was a lot more straightforward, a lot more about surfaces, although no less despairing. I thought the damage caused by Hunter's affair with Helen was glossed over a little - although there was an extraordinary moment when Paddy Considine was questioning Eddie Hall's wife about the events from 1977 and he glanced through an open door and saw, entirely out of the blue and unexplained, Peter Mullan's priest comforting Maxine Peake's Helen.
We get, Rashomon-like, another angle on the events at the Kashmir Club in 1974, another part of the picture.
In the end, Hunter - a flawed but honest detective - proves entirely inadequate to his task. Not his fault - he's at the mercy of forces entirely beyond his control. There is something in West Yorkshire which bulldozes lives away, good, bad and indifferent, a crime so awful that it poisons lives for years to come.
I'm in two minds about the omission of 1977. On the one hand Eddie Hall's descent is one of the most terrible in the Quartet, and leaving it out leaves out his perspective on the story - here he just looks like a corrupt policeman, which is what he was set up to appear as. On the other hand, there were just enough details to carry the momentum of the larger story, and hopefully more will emerge in the final episode.
Great stuff. Meaty and horrible. Next week, loose ends will be tied up and we will revisit the Kashmir Club. And if we're to believe one of my colleagues, who went to the press launch, Warren Clarke will utter the iconic catchphrase of the series. "This is the North. We do what we want."

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