mon 17/06/2024

From Darkness, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

From Darkness, BBC One

From Darkness, BBC One

Is there room for another TV cop tormented by the past?

Keep on running: Anne-Marie Duff as ex-policewoman Claire Church

This is the first of two new TV series this week to feature a female police officer investigating the discovery of long-buried skeletons (the other one is Thursday's Unforgotten on ITV). The two shows are different in tone, but still reminiscent of numerous noir-ish policiers of recent vintage. It makes you wonder whether commissioning editors are trying hard enough.

We hear a lot of earnest talk about "diversity", but it doesn't seem to apply to themes and subject matter.

Anyway, From Darkness stars Anne-Marie Duff as Claire Church, a former Manchester police officer who became demoralised by her investigations of missing prostitutes back in the late Nineties, which weren't taken seriously by the brutish sexists in the male-dominated police hierarchy. She's now living on a small chunk of rock in the Western Isles (population: 43) with her new partner Norrie (Richard Rankin, pictured below) and daughter Megan, and when she's not making her own Small Island Biscuits she pulls on her running kit and goes out to train for an Iron Woman competition.

Duff's stringy frame and gaunt features suggest that she's been putting in the road miles for real, and she radiates the air of a woman who's finding things to fill her life with so that the ghosts from the past can't creep back in. Fragmentary flashbacks to horrific-looking crime scenes and Ms Duff in a police uniform help ram home the message, along with shots of dark, brooding water and craggy coastline.

The past comes calling anyway, in the robustly corporeal form of DCI John Hind (Johnny Harris, pictured below). He remembers Church's work in the "sex worker community", and he also remembers his affair with her which almost wrecked his marriage. He comes to her Hebridean hideout to persuade her to come back and look at the newly-discovered evidence – are these the long-buried bodies of her missing prostitutes? Of course she refuses at first (and the bullying Hind gets a smack in the mouth from her husband for good measure), but, with three more episodes to fill, she must perforce change her mind.

In the blink of an edit, Church is poring obsessively over crime scene photos and old case files. And would you believe it, there's another killer (or a reactivated one) on the prowl in Manchester's red light district. A dead victim is found clutching a scrap of paper with Church's former police badge number written on it. It looks like curtains for Small Island Biscuits.

If the past is catching up with Claire Church, it's already stomping all over the viewer. From Darkness is reminiscent of assorted Scandinavian thrillers (even down to its eerily limpid theme tune), and similarities to ITV's Safe House, in which Christopher Eccleston played a traumatised ex-cop living in an isolated house in the Lake District, are hard to ignore. You may also have seen The Fall, Happy Valley or Line of Duty, in which case this one might be surplus to requirements. Writer Katie Baxendale says she wanted to avoid "a lazy use of women as victims" and concentrate on the emotional responses of her central character, but that sounds like a slender tightrope to walk.


In the blink of an edit, Church is poring obsessively over crime scene photos and old case files

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Share this article

Comments

boring absurd rubbish. A bad remake of " Prime suspect". police procedures ridiculous.

I would have written this as follows Manchester Police: There have been new murders agin with similar MO of case 15 years ago Heroine: I have left police 15 years ago did me head in I have a new life why are you bothering me. No way I am coming back..FINAL and she lives up to her word and series finished in 5 minutes and spares us 4 hours of clichéd drivel

1. So your job is "on the line" and you go to your prime suspect's daughter's wedding, let your ex get drunk and have sex with her in their garden 2. Your other suspect breaks into your flat, phones your mobile from inside the flat, and threatens your family, but you don't tell your colleagues because the same person has threatened your partner and step-daughter And this is supposed to believable!! I don't think so!!

Can anyone tell me who does the theme tune for from darkness

I'd like to know the title and singer for the theme music too. Frustratingly iPlayer shows the music list for episodes 2 and 3 but not the first episode!! Anyone?

Ah! As I understand it from the BBC site, 'The score was composed for the programme by Edmund Butt. He also wrote the title music, with lyrics written by Sir Tim Rice and sung by Izzie Yardley.' ... http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06h7yy4

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters