Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Devil's Whore

The first episode of Peter Flannery's The Devil's Whore was aired on Channel 4 last night, and very good it was too. We were introduced to the fictional characters of the Fanshawes and historical characters such as Charles I, Rainsborough, Cromwell and John Lilburne and his wife. The style was lush and expensively costumed with the occasional surreal or supernatural element helping to distance us and lessen the effect of the artistic license and historical shorthand necessary to link all the characters and stories together. Excellent performances came from a brooding John Simm as Edward Sexby and Andrea Riseborough as the central fictional character of Angelica Fanshawe.
I look forward to the rest of the episodes.
Here are previews and reviews from :
The Telegraph

The Independent

and The Guardian

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2 Comments:

At 12:39 pm, Blogger Jim Jay said...

I'm in two minds. I think my expectations were a bit too high.

It was good - I'm just trying to decide how good.

 
At 7:15 pm, Blogger greenman said...

I liked it, but I will agree with you that the jury is still out on some elements of the drama. The supernatural and surreal elements could begin to grate if overdone, and the heavy suggestion of doom and pessimism typified by Sexby's gloomy comments on human nature are also a bit irritating even if they do predict the outcome of all the high hopes and idealism relatively accurately in this particular instance. The suspicion is of a pessimistic, moralistic, slightly misanthropic and not-so-crypto religious message lurking behind some of the imagery and dialogue. Some religious element is of course unavoidable given the subject matter and historical setting, and Flannery said that he used the Bible to construct dialogue as it was the "Common Text" of the day. A pessimistic element was of course also present in "Our Friends In The North", (Think of that scene with the great storm and the honest politician collapsing, or just about any scene with Geordie in it!), but the pessimistic element was not allowed to detract from the deeply moving human drama, let us hope Flannery does not overplay it here. I do get the impression though of a writer who has seen hopes and ideals crushed and betrayed so many times that his work is a balancing act between deep sympathy for human dilemmas and cynicism.

 

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