Born Equal, BBC1

by | Dec 17, 2006 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

Amid all the tinselly telly, this was welcome bleak midwinter fare, but Dominic Savage’s drama – an indictment of the inequalities in Britain today – lacked the punch to prick the consciences of the pricks in the City now wheelbarrowing six-figure bonuses back to their enormous homes, bouncing over the prone homeless on the way.

What was good about it?

• Anne Marie Duff is emerging as the best actress of her generation. Here, she played fragile pregnant mother Michelle who has run away from a violent husband (whose threatening phone messages had real menace). The best moments came when she was alone with pre-teen daughter Danielle (a great performance by Gemma Barrett)

• Robert Carlyle can still perform his seething psycho act brilliantly.

• The have and have-not juxtapositions worked well, moving from City men knocking back £450-a-shot brandy to a homeless man shivering in an underpass; switching from worries about the arrival of the marble polisher to the fears of a battered wife.

• The improvised dialogue gave the drama an authentic feel.

• The direction was beautiful. London looked great and every scene was a perfect picture.

What was bad about it?

• The drama had nothing really to do with inequality – people from any class and background could be battered spouses, battered children, ex-cons or desperate refugees.

• We’ve never been huge fans of Colin Firth’s distracted acting style which came in abundance as he played City worker Mark who became a conscientious meddler after a row with a homeless man, who he later handed £100 (only for the man to be beaten and robbed) and causing more harm than good to a needy teenage girl from Leeds.

• The clumsy, clichéd climax – Carlyle’s bitter character Robert kills Mark – was just a random, rather gratuitous act.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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