Broken is the beautiful, heart wrenching new 6-part drama series from award-winning English screenwriter and producer Jimmy McGovern, the champion of working class heroes. We are in familiar territory here – kitchen sink dramas and the seemingly small but overpowering tragedies of everyday life.
The big draw for drama fans is Sean Bean in the central role as Catholic priest Father Michael Kerrigan, a kind man, driven by his vocation to work hard for his community. Immediately we see that he’s haunted by an abusive past, rare in tv land where we frequently see priests as abusers, not victims. Bean played cross-dressing teacher Simon Gaskell in McGovern’s excellent drama, Accused an astounding role that he rightly won an International Emmy for. McGovern said in a Radio Times interview that he never considered anyone else for the lead role in Broken: “I always go back to Sean – I just think he’s world class,” he said. “People know he’s good, but I know he’s great.” Typically, Bean is stoic in the face of tragedy. He’s funny too – a bleak, black humour runs through this episode. On screen he is low-key with no histrionics. Appropriately, he doesn’t lose his head.
If you’ve not yet heard anything about the The Handmaid’s Tale, let me give you a hand getting out from under that rock where you’ve been hiding. This is an MGM production being show on Hulu in America. They seem to be a good 7 episodes ahead of us. Sadly, even in 2017, sometimes America is ahead of us in tv land. It’s great to have synchronised start dates, but it’s still not the norm. Avoiding spoilers for this much talked-about show is going to be a killer.
A few weeks after starting in the USA this 10 part drama series has been picked up by Channel 4 in the UK, which, as the young, intelligent, and left-leaning political channel is a really good fit for their brand and a bit of a coup. The series is based on a novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood and despite its startlingly relevant content was actually written in 1985. So this dystopian future Atwood envisaged is 30 years closer than we’d have hoped for, and none of her themes are any less relevant or possibilities presented any less realistic. In interviews Atwood says that none of these war crimes in the fictional Republic of Gilead are entirely made up – all have happened somewhere on the globe. This really is extremely dark stuff. Do we as the audience have the stamina to get through it?
The series opening is distressing, as our heroine Offred is violently parted from her husband and daughter, but it’s not a tense escape. We know she’ll get caught. The rippling tension comes from her social position at her new posting with the Commander (Joseph Feinnes) and his wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski).
Guest blogger Jontosaurus takes us for a walk through his favourite prehistoric wildlife show…
The one problem I had with Jurassic Park and the army of sequels it spawned was simply the factual inaccuracy of it all. Sure, it is decent cinematic value for money to see a Tyrannosaurus Rex lay the smack-down on a car, especially when that car contains two screaming children- who, you know, would really have improved their chances of survival if they weren’t making all of that damn noise and drawing attention to themselves– but my main issue is that you didn’t learn anything. As a child, I was fascinated by dinosaurs, so much so that my idea of a fun day out was not to visit a theme park, but to go to a dinosaur museum or to visit the beach along our infamous ‘Jurassic Coast’ for fossil walks and fossil hunts. Yeah…I was THAT kind of kid. For me, the age of the dinosaurs was a fascinating part of natural history that I felt needed more attention and a whole lot more respect paid to it than an overblown (although undeniably enjoyable) Hollywood blockbuster could muster. In my opinion, we don’t need to plant a dinosaur in the centre of Manhattan in order to make people’s jaws drop- dinosaurs were awesome enough in their own right.