April 10th, 2009


red riding, part three

It's taken me a while to get around to watching this, and the experience was not heightened by my having recorded it on a very old videotape which only just recorded the sound, meaning I had to watch it with the volume all the way up and sitting very close to the television.
If the first episode bordered on the surreal and the second was fairly straightforward, this was sort of impressionistic.
The first episode began with lives lost. This one ended with lives saved, the redemption of Mark Addy's overweight, sleazy solicitor John Piggott and David Morrissey's tortured, conflicted detective Maurice Jobson, a young life rescued, and the eventual freedom of BJ, who has woven his way through the series like a thread.
It wasn't tidy. The involvement of Piggott's father in the evil besetting this part of West Yorkshire was sort of depth-charged into the story. We didn't get to find out what happened to Jim Carter and Warren Clarke and the other bent coppers. Piggott's unravelling of the story seemed a little too easy - he just bumped into people who told him more parts of it. Saskia Reeves's medium, in a part which if memory serves was severely cut down from the book, was pretty much wasted, only there to give a rather confusing sense of a real occult dimension to the murders.
But this series has not been tidy, much like the books. You had to pay attention, which is unusual in television drama these days.
High points? Sean Bean's John Dawson. Mark Addy and David Morrissey, at the top of their game. Peter Mullan's priest, source of evil, increasingly other-worldly as the series went on. The catchphrase, "...The North, where we do what we want." The words "Put your hands on the table," which I won't be able to hear again without shivering.
It was some of the best television I can remember seeing in a very long time, beautifully written, directed and acted.
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