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Monday, 5 August 2013

The BAFTA winning Accused Arrives on DVD


Earlier this year everyone with a television was raving about Olivia Colman's performance in ITV's Broadchurch. Before Colman flexed her dramatic muscles as DI Ellie Miller most had seen her as a comedic actress with roles in Peep Show, Green Wing and BBC2's Rev. Broadchurch wasn't the first time I'd seen what Colman was capable of as a serious actress though.  I'd be blown away by her talents in August 2012 when she teamed up with the equally brilliant Anne-Marie Duff in the second episode of Jimmy McGovern's superb BBC1 drama Accused. In the second episode of the second series Colman and Duff play two friends who have a hair salon. Their lives are bleak and where they work is plagued by gangs and danger. The pair don't live in fear though and decide to open the salon amidst the violence. As the pair go about attending to their clients a gun shot is heard and the women race into the street. To their huge shock they find Colman's son has been shot and in a wonderfully heartfelt scene he dies in the street. As an audience though we already had an inkling something awful was afoot. Like every episode of the critically acclaimed series each episode begins with one of the main leads in a prison cell awaiting transportation to their trail. We learn what the accused has done during the course of the episode and, because this Mcgovern nothing is simple, straightforward or expected. In the case of this episode we see Duff in the cell. Surely she can't have anything to do with the death of her best friend's son? The hour that follows is the emotional rollercoaster we've come to expect with this series. The performances of our two leads are brutally honest and faultless and the hour whizzes with continual twists and turns which I won't spoil for you should you want to order the DVD.

If I'm honest I did have a major problem with this series.  Four episodes?!! Surely we are deserving of the six we were treated to for the first series. Despite the lack of episodes, and without wanting to come across melodramatic or over the top, I honestly believe all four of these are masterpieces and each one is a masterclass in storytelling.  As co-writer of the final episode Isabelle Grey told me at the time McGovern is always there to emphasise the importance of the story. "He's full of humility. When he went off and did his drafts he sent me his drafts to read whereas before I'd be sending mine to read so it was great to see that all that matters to him is the story. It's not about ego or whose name is on the script, it's about the story."



Isabelle's episode is the last in the series and focuses on a female prison officer (portrayed by the superbly talented Anna Maxwell-Martin). Tina is passionate about her job but her loyalties to her colleagues are tested when she meets young Stephen. One thing I enjoyed about this second series was the fact that it featured some of the same characters. In the previous series each episode was a one-off but in this series Mcgovern took the clever step of combining characters from episodes three and four so that we followed troubled Stephen into prison following his sentencing. It goes without saying that these episodes are bleak but like all of McGovern's work they have a tinge of humour and humanity to them. The pacing is brilliant and you can identify with each of the characters instantly. The brilliance of Accused is that it isn't a 'whodunnit', it shines a spotlight on someone, whose action in one moment changed the course of the rest of their lives.

None of the characters here have a bad bone in their body. They are so brilliantly ordinary and the predicaments they find themselves in could happen to anyone. The balance between the back story and the scenes in the courtroom is fantastic and of course we never know if our 'Accused' is going to get found guilty or not.  As you can tell I honestly don't have a bad word to say about this second series and if somehow you missed this first time round you simply must buy the DVD.

Accused Facts
  • Sean Bean makes an unattractive and unconvincing women but the episode is fantastic.
  • Liverpudlian Comedian John Bishop is a great actor
  • The series received 4 BAFTA nominations including best mini-series and Supporting Actress for Olivia Colman.
The series ran in August of 2012.  

                                 
DVD Extras

Photo Gallery
Cast FIlmographies
Subtitles

           The DVD is available now from Acorn Media 

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