|Gabriel Byrne as Quirke. Pic: BBC|
BBC1: date and time to be announced
Story: A chief pathologist investigates the death of a young woman in childbirth who has ties to his own family.
Gabriel Byrne as the rueful hero
Atmospheric, brooding mystery
The opening story is an atmospheric, multi-layered drama that is full of strong performances. Quirke’s half-brother Mal is a snob who looks down on Quirke, who came from an orphanage. Our hero butts heads with those close to him as well as the tight-faced nuns at the Sisters of Mercy Laundry in an effort to expose a shocking crime. The air of menace from those doing God’s work is scary.
And there is a devastating piece of news for Quirke, which is sure to reverberate through remaining episodes. Still to come in this three-part series are The Silver Swan and Elegy for April.
The one reservation is that Quirke, a big prestigious BBC production, feels predictable and safe. Solid literary adaptations in period costume are a risk-free use of licence-fee payers money that hark back to the likes of Brideshead or I, Claudius.
Cast: Gabriel Byrne Quirke, Michael Gambon Judge Garret Griffin, Catherine Steadman Claire Stafford, Geraldine Somerville Sarah Griffin, Brian Gleeson Sinclair, Shane Taylor Andy Stafford,
Diarmaid Murtagh Mick McCoy, Sara Stewart Rose, Peter Coonan Barney Boyle, Nick Dunning Malachy Griffin, Stanley Townsend Inspector Hackett, Aisling Franciosi Phoebe Griffin, Jane McGrath Maisie, Denis Conway Fr. Anselm, Frank O’Sullivan Davy