Friday, 8 July 2011

Church of McGovern

This week I watched the first episode of Season 1 of UK screenwriter Jimmy McGovern's newest series, Accused.

I'm a gushing, dribbling fan of the writer, from Cracker and The Lakes on down. He's pretty much my hero. Accused did a lot of the things Mr. McGovern does best--turning the details of working class life into a functioning drama and playing out the pressures and injustices of the British class system--yet I have to admit was a bit disappointed with the legal scenes that rounded up the episode.

I understand that the show isn't a 'legal drama' (it explores the crime itself rather than the outcome) but to me it felt like the episode skipped it's natural climax and robbed me of my payoff for the hour I'd just invested in Willy Houlihan's problems. (Errgh, doesn't that sentence sound screenwriter-y? I feel like hitting myself.) I was left with the impression that the writing team's legal research may have been lacking regarding the trial process and that we'd just jumped over a plot hole or two. ("Wait, what? Go back!") I was surprised because that's really not like Mr. McG, he usually has so much respect for the viewer. I also didn't see his usual fleshy specifics in the characters of barrister, jury and judge so I was unable to understand why the verdict fell the way it did.

Series 2 has been commissioned and I'll watch a few more episodes of this one before I say more; Mr. McG has given me hours and hours of rapt viewing and a real live creative champion from my own side of the tracks, so the benefit of the doubt is the least I can give him in return.

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