Review: Little Boy Blue (S1 E3&4/4), Monday 8th and Monday 15th May, ITV

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One of the series I’ve gotten a bit behind on is ITV’s four-part adaptation of a true crime, Little Boy Blue. For two episodes we’ve seen how 11-year-old boy Rhys Jones was shot senselessly in a car park in Croxteth, Liverpool in the summer of 2007; and how investigating officer DS Dave Kelly struggled to bring the teenage gang responsible for the killing to justice. It had been powerful and emotional thus far, but – being super-objective – had it been a decent drama? Yes. And no.  Continue reading

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Review: Little Boy Blue (S1 E2/4), Monday 1st May, ITV

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Last week ITV’s new four-part adaptation of the tragic Rhys Jones story introduced us to both a family trying to come to terms with the overwhelming grief of losing an 11-year-old son to a seemingly random murder and a policeman in a temporary position tasked with bringing those who took the lad’s life to justice. We also met a gang of local youths drunk on the strength of their status as untouchables in and around Croxteth, convinced that their power within the community would help them to get away with the murder. Episode was a harrowing, uncomfortable watch, but it was sensitively staged and researched. More of the same in episode two. Continue reading

Review: Little Boy Blue (S1 E1/4), Monday 24th April, ITV

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And so we come to our post-Broadchurch, Monday-night crime watch. Whereas the final, third series of Broadchurch managed to present a harrowing case of sexual assault with sensitivity and a great deal of procedural realism, almost to the point of documentary style, it has nothing on an actual true story. And this is what Little Boy Blue is – an adapted drama made with the consent of a murdered 11-year-old boy’s family, whose story and tragedy deeply touched and saddened a nation a decade ago. Anything that is based on real-life events makes me nervous (Will it do justice to the victim? Will it do justice to the family of the victim? What is the point of telling the story?), so I approached this with trepidation and a little nervousness.

NB. Spoilers inside Continue reading

ITV confirms transmission date for Little Boy Blue

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A few months ago we saw the BBC’s attempt to bring to life a harrowing true-life crime story – that of the Shannon Matthews disappearance – and now ITV is getting in on the act. True crime stories are always fraught with difficulty and come with potential controversy – how do you depict things that are still so raw for a lot of people? The last time ITV did a true crime story (Jimmy Nesbitt’s excellent The Secret and Martin Compston’s In Plain Sight) the former was actually discussed in British Parliament because of an outcry from one of the victim’s family. The Moorside attracted a lot of attention, and I’m expecting ITV’s latest true crime adaptation, Little Boy Blue, to also provoke intense discussion. But at least we now know when it’s on… Continue reading

Sky Atlantic announces last series of The Tunnel, plus Suranne Jones crime drama

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fileSky Atlantic is going to be busy this year. On top of the imminent second series of Fortitude and the Swedish drama Midnight Sun, there’s also much more coming up later in the year. Two of things on the horizon include a returning series and a brand new one that will star one of the hottest female acting talents in the UK – Suranne Jones. Continue reading

Channel 4 confirms transmission date for The Watchman

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Stephen Graham The Watchman

We’re getting a lot of transmission confirmations today, which is great because we know that in a few weeks normal service will be resumed and lots of new stuff will be starting. One such thing is Channel 4’s The Watchman, a one-off drama starring the always-brilliant Stephen Graham in the kind of role he does so well – disenfranchised, kindly but with rage always seeming to bubble just below the surface. The country’s modern-day De Niro, for sure. Anyway, Channel 4 has confirmed this intriguing drama’s transmission date. Continue reading

Review: The Secret Agent (S1 E2/3), Sunday 24th July, BBC1

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Programme Name: The Secret Agent - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 2) - Picture Shows:  Chief Inspector Heat (Stephen Graham) - (C) World Productions LTD - Photographer: Des Willie

(C) World Productions LTD – Photographer: Des Willie

I woke up this morning after last night’s second episode of The Secret Agent to news of more shootings and suicide bombs, in Florida and Germany respectively. It’s a hard, awful world we’re living in at the moment, and The Secret Agent, although set a hundred years ago, has themes and arguments that are extremely topical. Joseph Conrad probably didn’t foresee a world where a novel he wrote would have huge relevance 109 years later. Continue reading