mon 23/09/2019

Accused, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

Accused, BBC One

Accused, BBC One

Jimmy McGovern’s new drama series is no generic courtroom drama

Christopher Eccleston as Willy Houlihan in the first of Jimmy McGovern’s new drama seriesBBC Pictures

With a title like Accused it would be easy to imagine that Jimmy McGovern’s new series was going to be just another generic courtroom drama, but McGovern would never be that predictable. The man who made Brookside grittily unmissable back in the 1980s, reinvented the TV crime genre with Cracker in the 1990s, and then settled into full maturity with The Street which ended last year, would probably rather retire than deliver anything that wasn’t in some sense fresh and innovative. He’s now one of only a handful of TV writers whose name alone guarantees a certain kind of direct, powerful drama honed by heart, intellect and political idealism.

‘This irritatingly cheery priest whose uncanny instincts could only be credible if he were omnipresent seemed a highly unlikely McGovern character’

Explore topics

Share this article

Comments

Compared to the usual popular fare served up on TV, ie reality shows, talent shows and other various drivel, 'accused' was sheer class. Gripping, sad, funny, real, violent etc. all there. superb. looking forward to next weeks episode.

I'm very selective about what I watch on TV and struggle to find something half-decent. Jimmy McGovern's Accused is a good replacement for Spooks. The hour-long episode flew over quickly (a good sign) and although unlikely and unrealistic in parts, it made compelling viewing. I am hoping the rest of the "accused" will give as good a performance as Christopher Eccleston.

Realistic characters and a plausible plotline, along with great acting.Everything that Spooks isn`t.McGovern`s previous effort, "The Street", should never have been axed; it looks as though "Accused " will be a worthy replacement.

The "unlikely" and "unrealistic" shouldn't even be an issue here. It is a morality play dealing with a man's problems in life. The priest was, I assume, supposed to represent willy's conscience, rather than be an actual person . I found the whole thing reminisent of a Shakespeare/ chekov/ Greek legends/ parables. Slightly unbelieveable scenario but with a real truth to the character and his predicaments. Brilliant.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with many of the previous comments. I am totally with Llinos on the 'reality' of the priest; I definitely felt that this was a representation of Willie's conscience rather than an actual character. But, whilst I found it beautifully acted by Ecclestone and Quesnel, I thought it was incredibly slow and highly implausible. In addition, the timeline was ridiculous - unless the cab driver took 'an unconscionable time a-dying', there is no way they could have got an elaborate wedding arranged so quickly. And it obviously was almost immediate or the forged aspect of the notes would have been discovered long before the wedding took place - and on that particular subject I simply don't believe that any casino would have accepted £20,000 without doing the forgery light check before accepting the bet, never minding paying out the winnings. All in all, this was highly flawed and way below what I expect of McGovern.

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.