“To the North…”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 by

Police brutality

Police brutality

“…Where we do what we want”.

It’s hard to remember the last time C4 put so much weight behind one of its dramas. Red Riding, adapted from the novels of David Peace, tells the story of policing in Yorkshire through the 1970s and early ’80s. The trilogy was unveiled to the press tonight via a lowkey press launch in Shoreditch, East London.

C4′s Head of Drama, Liza Marshall, unveiled a selection of clips from each episode (which are set in 1974, 1980 and 1983 respectively), commenting that a production like this is  reason enough the channel should be helped out of its current financial crisis.

It’s hard to truly respond to what we saw – pretty much 10 minutes from each episode. But I think I’m probably safe to say that, from those tasters alone, Red Riding looks like it’s going to be sensational. Passionate, breath-takingly grim, impecably cast and steeped in a forboding atmosphere (all the episodes revolve, to varying extent, around the crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper), I can’t remember looking forward to seeing a finished production quite so much.

And, yes, because it’s set over an extended time period, I’m duty-bound to apply those five words to it: Our Friends in the North. It definitely has a taste of that landmark drama.

Find out more about the production here. And watch out for Red Riding on C4 some time in March.


5 Responses to ““To the North…””

  1. Jack Kibble-White on January 21st, 2009 12:11 am

    I think it might be as far back as Life on Mars when I was looking forward to a new drama series this much. I hope it’s going to be as great as all the pre-publicity suggests

  2. David Pascoe on January 25th, 2009 5:52 pm

    Approach these with caution. I read the quartet of books that make up this story (one of them is set in 1977) and while the period detail was a joy (particularly in “Nineteen Seventy Four”), all four books ended up as intensely frustrating reads as Peace wrote himself into the tortured mental states of the various protagonists and ended up disappearing up his own arse.
    That said I’m looking forward to seeing “The Damned United” when it comes out to see if Michael Sheen will re-create the “Oh you are a bloody disgrace” in flashback wearing white shorts and a red tracksuit top. Also to see if they cast anyone as Barry Davies at the press conference announcing Brian Clough’s departure.

  3. Pidge on January 25th, 2009 8:44 pm

    I found David’s comment very interesting. I’ve seen the first show on preview disc and gradually through the epsiode became increasingly alienated from what I was watching. Some scenes near the end were a step too far for me and I gave up on it. But David’s description of the books is exactly how I feel about the episode I saw – I think he put’s it extremely well and perfectly encapsulates my response to it.

  4. Oliver on January 28th, 2009 7:34 pm

    Thanks for posting this as I’d heard about the programmes being made but didn’t know when they’d be screened. I thought 1980 was the best of the four novels as it’s easier to understand the point-of-view of the copper. I think David Peace captures the fear of the period better than any factual book or programme on the Yorkshire Ripper. It’s interesting that you actually need quite a lot of detailed historical knowledge about the Yorkshire Ripper case to fully appreciate what Peace is doing with the books and I wonder if that’ll put people off the TV programme. I personally found it important to know about the real case when reading the Peace books and also read Michael Bilton’s ‘Wicked Beyond Belief’ around the same time. Equally my lack of interest in the Miners’ Strike in 1984/85 put me off GB84 within the first couple of chapters and I still haven’t felt like picking it up again. The Red Riding Quartet felt less historical than GB84 to me. I’ll be watching with interest.

  5. Suzy on February 1st, 2009 1:14 pm

    It’s about time there was more northern grit on and any comparison with OFitN is going to hold my attention.