Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Channel 4 - "Cape Wrath"

Normally I have difficulty staying awake for C4's dramas which typically start at 10pm (I get up at 6am). Last night's "Cape Wrath" additionally lasted until after 11.30pm as a feature length season opener but I didn't flinch, which is a sure sign that I loved it!

I have to namecheck all the usual suspects for where the concepts and atmosphere come from: "Twin Peaks", "The Prisoner" and the Stepford series of films. There's also the merest hint of "Brookside" for me, despite a deliberate absence of revealing where the fictional Meadowlands is at (it was filmed in a real development in Kent, but the titular Cape Wrath - in Caithness - is never mentioned). Unusually, it started screening in the US last month.

Though it looks to me like there will be a focus on a different character each episode this kicked off with the nuclear 'Brogan' family (above) moving in under blindfold. The blindfolds are necessary because the main twist of this drama is that the Meadowlands community are all relocated there for their own safety, apparently for the rest of their lives. Thus they all have a dark secret and a new fake identity. Even by the end of last night's episode we don't know the full story of "Danny Brogan" (David Morrissey) or how the rest of the family may be involved.

There's a bit of a blur on whether the residents are moved there as potential victims or potential perpetrators of crime. In the case of Jack the handyman (Tom Hardy, below) it certainly seemed the latter but again we were left with a grey area of doubt as he ultimately became a victim at the climax of episode 1. Though he'd been convicted of a sex-related murder at 14 (he is sexually aroused by other people's fear), and ended up attempting to rape one of the 'Brogan' family it was revealed he'd been betrayed by the sinister 'runner' of Meadowlands (Nina Sosanya) while desperately seeking help. I have to say though Tom Hardy looks menacing and sexy in whatever he appears, even when in a rare heroic role, such as the "A for Andromeda" remake. He also bagged the best line of the night - "Your gums, my plums".

It's definitely an ensemble cast, with many a familiar face cropping up - the likes of Melanie Hill, Ralph Brown, Don Gilet and Tristan Gemmill are all residents. Relative newcomers also put in strong performances, notably Lucy Cohu as 'Evelyn Brogan' and Felicity Jones and Harry Treadaway as her teenage twin offspring. Treadaway as the much-troubled 'Mark' especially looks to have his work cut out . He's also rather comely despite the family publicity shot I used above in which he appears to be a cross between Simon Amstell and Edward Scissorhands (the latter may be deliberate). I'd last seen Harry as David Tennant & Sarah Parish's son in "Recovery" coping with another dysfunctional family situation.

I'd recommend it, though not for those with an aversion to sex, violence, swearing or a combination of all three (which happened in the climactic scene yesterday).

Negative review in "The Times"
Negative review in "The Daily Telegraph"
Negative review in "The Guardian"

Official Channel 4 site

Wikipedia entry (includes spoilers due to US pace)

Google Map of filming location (ME20 6GB)

Digital Spy thread

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