Unflinching drama from the award winning Jimmy McGovern (Cracker, Hillsborough, The Street) and starring Warren Brown, Peter Capaldi, Mackenzie Crook, Christopher Eccleston, Naomie Harris, Andy Serkis, Ben Smith, Juliet Stevenson and Marc Warren.
I’m about to let you into a little secret that I discovered last week whilst browsing the internet for DVDs. Acorn Media allows you to buy their TV DVDs before they hit internet retailers or those old fashioned places that your parents told you about called shops? On their website you can find Acorn Exclusives, these are titles that will eventually be able to order through your favourite online retailer or buy in one of those shops but if I like me you’re an inpatient person (or just someone who gets a strange pleasure out of owning something that others would have to wait for) then Acorn are here for you.
The first series of Jimmy McGovern’s Accused was without question one of my favourite drama series of 2010. If I was being my normal melodramatic self I’d also be tempted to name it as one of my favourite drama series ever! The DVD for series 1 will be available to buy on Monday 2nd July but if I like me your wanting to relive it all now you can through Acorn’s site.
Jimmy McGovern has long been one of my favourite UK television writers. He writes with a realism and grit and you just know with a Jimmy McGovern piece you’re in safe hands. Accused showcased Jimmy’s talents for heartbreaking, real and profound storytelling. If somehow you missed the series first time round then you are a foolish human being who should really reevaluate their priorities. The series is comprised of six hour long episodes, each features a brand new cast and a brand new set of characters. Each episode is a master class in how a TV drama no forget that, any drama should work. On the surface the premise appears so simple you could be forgiven for thinking it had been done before but no.
At the start of each episode we meet someone in their holding cell. The story then flashes back and we learn about the events and actions that has led each person to be in this unthinkable position. In one story Marc Warren (Hustle, Mad Dogs, Without You) is seen chasing after a man he believes to be a pedophile and in another Juliet Stevenson plays a mother driven to despair after her son is killed in accident at work. Each story is as engrossing, believable and heartbreaking as the last. Its rare that you will watch an entire series and be moved and bowled over by each and every episode, you almost expect there to be one or two below par episodes that you won’t identify with or care for as much as the rest but in the case of Accused I can say with complete certainty that there isn’t a bad episode on this DVD set.
I’ve been a fan of Jimmy McGovern’s work for as long as I remember. He has a unique and human style and although I will never tire of Cracker or The Lakes, Accused may well be McGovern at his best. Even though each episode is only an hour long the characters are so well rounded and the stories so well paced that by the end you feel as if you know everything there is to know about those involved. By the time the final scene in the courtroom arrives the empathy and compassion you’ll feel for each character and their individual plight may surprise you.
If I was forced to pick a favourite episode out of the six tremendous hours on the DVD it would have to be the second episode which is set in Afghanistan and stars an unrecognizable Mackenzie Crook. Crook is about as far removed from Gareth Keenon in The Office as it is possible to get and the whole episode is so brutal and gripping that even on a second viewing I felt just as emotional and angry about it as I did first time round.
Aside from the six episodes which also feature performances from Andy Serkis, Warren Brown and Christopher Eccleston the DVD features Cast Filmographies, Subtitles and a fascinating behind the scenes documentary which features conversations from Executive Producer Sita Williams, Director David Blair and the man himself Jimmy McGovern. This feature gives an interesting glimpse into the making of the series, the story behind where it call came from aswell as a rather in-depth chat with McGovern who proves to be just as fascinating to listen to as any of his scripts.
Not to sound like a stuck record (or MP3), but series 1 of Accused is TV drama at its best. Its wonderfully atmospheric, believable, and worryingly true to life. The stories here could happen to anyone anywhere and what the series demonstrates so skillfully is how anyone’s life can change with one quick decision.
If you want to wait you can buy the DVD on Monday 8th October but why wait when you could have it NOW!