Archive for September 17th, 2013


by Allan Fish

(UK 2013 187m) DVD1/2

Not that sort of place

p  Derrin Schlesinger, Peter Carlton  d  Sean Durkin  w  Tony Grisoni  ph  Mátyás Erdély  ed  Daniel Greenway  art  Tom Bowyer

Sean Harris (Stephen Morton), Rory Kinnear (David Whitehead), Shirley Henderson (Louise Salter), Eddie Marsan (Andrew Salter), Anatol Yusef (Paul Gould), Joe Dempsie (Chris Cooper), Kaya Scodelario (Ann Salter), Al Weaver (Anthony),

Broadchurch and Southcliffe; the two series that will likely be held up as the best British TV drama had to offer in 2013.  Both titles refer to sleepy close-knit communities.  Both communities suffer tragedy and have to come to terms with it.  Broadchurch was equal parts whodunit and whydunit and a post mortem on the healing process.  It’s a very fine drama in its own right, but Southcliffe seems to me the greater achievement, perhaps because it leaves so much unanswered.

It was in 1987 that Michael Ryan went round the sleepy town of Hungerford with a gun and shot sixteen people, including his mother, before turning the gun on himself.  Southcliffe is partially based on those events, though set very much in the present day.  The killer here is Stephen Morton, an ex-serviceman mockingly called ‘The Commander’ by locals and getting what money he can by doing odd-jobs for people who generally pay him a pittance.  In addition he has a bedridden old mother who he takes care of single-handedly, refusing care worker Claire Salter’s requests to get the DLA he’s entitled to.  (more…)

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