REVIEW: White House Farm (S1 E4/6)

I’ll admit it, I’ve not really been enjoying this series.

My worst fears – that this grisly, harrowing true-life crime adaptation was being dragged out as far as it possibly could – were beginning to come true.  The last few episodes were slow, with only one meaningful twist or cliffhanger. (Obviously, I’m judging the adaptation here, NOT judging any of the events and trauma that actually happened.)

So I came into this fourth episode with low expectations. And, wouldn’t you know it, and with low expectations in tow, I actually enjoyed this episode from a drama standpoint. There was a sense that there was a quickening and a raising of the stakes.

At the end of the last episode, we saw Stan accrue new evidence (the silencer) but couldn’t get it to the prosecutors in time. Instead, Jeremy Bamber got access to the bodies and was free to cremate.

He was also free to begin ruthlessly selling off his parents’ wares – including his dad’s war medals – to the chagrin of Ann. And he began to act strangely, too. He was cracking jokes, taking any opportunity to have a dig at Julie, and flirting with anyone he came across (including his strange Kiwi travelling mate).

His behaviour was beginning to attract attention.

Elsewhere, Stan was still waging his one-man mission inside the force to bring Bamber to justice. And it wasn’t going well. The coroner still disputed the silencer evidence, his superiors told him to pack his suspicions up and accept the murder-suicide verdict, and then Taff demanded he take his month’s worth of holiday, or gardening leave as he didn’t call it.

Before the suspension-in-all-but-name there still things that were nagging away at Stan, not least when he and his young partner were in the Bamber farmhouse when they noticed a new phone had been placed in the kitchen. They found that the phone had been taken from the bedroom, which again contradicted the idea that Nevill Bamber was able to make his 999 call.

So we had a classic set-up here. It looked for all the world that Stan’s investigation was dead in the water and Bamber was going to get away with it. (Stan wept when he returned home after being suspended.)

But then along came Julie.

We saw her begin to disintegrate from guilt and Bamber’s steady pressure over the course of the episode, and she had taken skulking in the corner of rooms to new levels throughout this whole stories, and there was a sense that it was only a matter of time until she stopped skulking and started talking.

As the funerals took place, and despite Stan’s occasional invitation to give him a call to tell him what was on her mind, the guilt got the better of her.

She went to the police.

So there was a sense that from the ashes of failure the Phoenix of justice was beginning to rise. And that made it an engrossing, compelling watch.

There was once particular shot that really impressed me: Colin had gone round to Sheila’s old flat on the invitation of Bamber. When he got there he had found that his brother-in-law had taken down all the pictures of the children from the wall, showed him Sheila’s semi-naked glamour photos from her modelling days, and was all jokes. Colin was furious.

There was a horizontal shot that showed Bamber and Colin stand, facing each other, on opposite sides of the living room, divided the wall. It was an apt visual metaphor.

Paul Hirons







One Comment Add yours

  1. Elizabeth Macpherson says:

    Thank you for your review Paul & I’m glad you you’re on board with the series. Although I agree with your point of some episodes appearing slow, I didn’t have a problem with it. I felt it added to the feeling of Stan’s frustration in not being listened to, plus the realism that police work is slow.


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