Five Daughters — Killer TV No.41

BBC1, 2010
‘I’m not a waste of time, space or oxygen. I deserve the air that I breathe. I stand on corners, alone, lonely, waiting, always for one last time. I love and I am loved. I am alive, except when I choose to play dead…’ – Annette Nicholls
Ian Hart, Sarah Lancashire, Jaime Winstone, Ruth Negga, Joseph Mawle, Vicky McClure, Kierston Wareing
Identikit: Factually based drama telling the stories of five young women who were murdered in Ipswich in 2006.


‘This is madness,’ says DCS Stewart Gull in this fact-based drama, and those words sum up the dismay – among public and within the police – that surrounded the shocking series of five murders in Ipswich during late 2006. Amid the car chases, brilliant deductions, twisting whodunits and maverick cops, British television occasionally produces a serious drama that punctures the fiction by offering an insight into the real pain behind the crime story headlines. Five Daughters was about the Ipswich serial murders committed by Steve Wright and the impact on the victims’ families. Stephen Butchard wrote a hugely compassionate three-parter that showed that the victims, whatever their backgrounds as sex workers and drug users, were individuals who were loved and profoundly missed by those close to them. Completely free of cop-show cliches, it was based on the personal testimonies of those close to the events in 2006. It tells, for example, of Anneli Alderton’s hopes of

starting her own hairdressing business after coming out of Holloway Prison, or Gemma Adams turning to a drug charity project to break her heroin addiction and get out of the sex trade. And all along is the loving support of mothers, siblings and friends as the women battle to turn their lives around. Cops and killer were not the focus, but the ordinary lives devastated by these awful crimes were. The production was low-key and sensitive, and beautifully acted by a fine cast of young and experienced actors. Though painful to watch at times, the mini-series went some way to help redress the wrong done to the women by showing them as the good, decent people behind the often lurid headlines. 

Watercooler fact: Following Five Daughters, writer Stephen Butchard returned to the fiction side of crime with Sky Atlantic’s Falcon and BBC1’s excellent Good Cop, starring Warren Brown.

Other links…
Best crime dramas of 2010

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LOVE/HATE - HUGHIE (Brian Gleeson), DARREN (Robbie Sheehan), John Boy (Aidan Gillen) IMAGE PROVIDED BY CHANNEL 5
Brian Gleeson, Robbie Sheehan and Aidan Gillen

Rating: ★★★★ C5: 10pm, starts Wednesday, 24 July

Story: Criminal Darren Treacy risks a return to Dublin for a weekend to celebrate his brother’s release from prison, having fled to Spain after a gun was found at his house. However, a tragic event forces him to stay longer than planned…

LOVE/HATE - Rosie (Ruth Negga) with Darren (Robert Sheehan)
Ruth Negga and Robbie Sheehan

CHANNEL 5, home of bland US series such as CIS and NCIS, has slipped a couple of interesting Irish crime dramas into the schedules recently. They had The Guards with Iain Glen a little while ago, and tonight it’s the excellent Love/Hate.

There have been four series of the drama and it has been a hit in Ireland since 2010 – strange that it’s taken so long to cross the water. It’s a streetwise gangster story that bears little relation to the police procedurals that get made so often in the UK, with Robert Sheehan, of Misfits, as Darren, a thug who risks a return from Spain to attend the celebrations for his brother’s release from jail.

Shootings and illicit liaisons

The visit goes haywire when his brother, Robbie, is murdered in what appears to be a gang hit. Darren
wants revenge and is pulled into the orbit of drug boss John Boy Power, played the Aidan Gillen, who seems to be contracted to appear in every other drama made in Ireland, the US and the UK.

Darren is also playing with danger in reigniting a romance with Rosie, who now has a secret in the form of a new man.

Scripted by Irish playwright Stuart Carolan, this is a tense, punchy drama, illuminating the dark side of recession-hit modern Ireland. It is full of jeopardy for the characters in what is literally a cut-throat culture, and it made me think of The Long Good Friday in the way it rooted a mob feud in a distinctive period.

Aidan Gillen as gang boss John Boy

Brian Gleeson and Ruth Negga

Aidan Gillen is slickly menacing, and Brian Gleeson is scary as the out-of-control Hughie Power. But in addition to the rough stuff, the female characters are convincing and strong, from Ruth Negga’s Rosie to Ruth Bradley as Mary, Robbie’s sister, who is having a secret liaison with family friend Tommy.

It is Tommy who is bedding Mary when he should be chauffeuring Robbie. Instead, Robbie is gunned down and events turn nasty indeed.

Cast: Robert Sheehan Darren Treacy, Aidan Gillen John Boy Power, Ruth Negga Rosie, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor Nidge, Ruth Bradley Mary Treacy, Brian Gleeson Hughie Power, Lawrence Kinlan Elmo, Aoibhinn McGinnity Trish, Killian Scott Tommy, Peter Campion Stephen `Stumpy’ Doyle, Peter Gowan Pat, Charlie Murphy Siobhan, Chris Newman Robbie Treacy

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