Accused — Killer TV No.33

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Stephen Graham and Sean Bean – Tracie’s Story

BBC1, 2010-2012

‘You’re the bitch. Right? Till you prove yourself in battle, till you return fire when under fire, you’re the bitch.’ Corporal Buckley (Frankie’s Story)

Anne-Marie Duff, Olivia Colman, Joe Dempsie, John Bishop, Warren Brown, Peter Capaldi, Mackenzie Crook, Juliet Stevenson, Christopher Eccleston, Marc Warren, Andy Serkis, Naomie Harris, Anna Maxwell Martin, Sean Bean, Stephen Graham

Identikit: As each week’s main character climbs into the dock, the events leading to their being accused and tried for a crime are revealed.

‘No police procedure, thanks very much, no coppers striding along corridors with coats flapping. Just crime and punishment – the two things that matter most in any crime drama’ – that’s how writer Jimmy McGovern described his anthology series. Each story features an ordinary person who ends up in the dock. How did they get there, and do they deserve to walk free or be locked up? The hook for McGovern is the ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ aspect to the lives of many working class people, the fine line between trying to do the right thing and ending up on the wrong side of the law. Such are McGovern’s credentials as the writer of powerful UK television dramas such as Cracker, Hillsborough and The Street that Accused pulled in the cream of British screen talent.

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Legends, Sky1, with Sean Bean PREVIEW


Rating: ★★★½

Sky1: starts Wednesday, 17 September, 10pm

Story: Martin Odum is a troubled deep-cover operative working for the FBI. He has infiltrated the violent Citizens’ Army of Virginia pretending to be a stuttering demolition man called Lincoln Dittmann when the operation takes a nasty turn…

GETTING BEHEADED in Game of Thrones seems to have added a few worry lines to Sean Bean’s chiselled features. However, the on-edge, lived-in look suits the part he plays as a stressed FBI undercover man in this explosive new series.

He is Martin Odum, inevitably a maverick, definitely not a team player, who gets up the nose of his

fellow agents. And it’s not just his Yorkshire accent that bugs them.

Who knew the FBI allowed Yorkshire men into their most secret ranks? But then again, when your CV includes Sharpe, Lord of the Rings, Troy and playing GoT‘s Ned Stark, you’ve clearly got enough grit and bottle for the Feds.

Sean Bean shows his versatility as Odum

So, Martin likes to do things his own way. We first meet him on a six-month undercover gig during which he has not bothered to contact his colleagues once to let them know what he’s up to.

He’s immersed himself in a group of dangerous nutjobs called the Citizens’ Army of Virginia, having taken on the persona of stammering Lincoln Dittmann, a former construction worker who’s been dumped by his wife and who now wants to join some domestic terrorists in making his mark.

This has been part of the attraction of the series for Bean, because to take on his ‘legends’ – spook Accused series, he’s not scared to take a walk on the vulnerable side.

speak for fabricated identities – he gets to show another side to his tough-guy image. As he showed in his moving portrayal of the transvestite Tracey in the BBC’s excellent

From the makers of 24 and Homeland

If there is one major reason for watching this action show, which is based on Robert Littell’s bestseller, then it is Sean Bean’s presence. He has taken the trouble to get under the skin of oddballs such as Dittmann, and his switch between the stammering wannabe to action man is electric.

The action is pounding and the storytelling done in broad strokes. We glimpse Odum’s broken marriage to Sonya and his neglect of his son, Aiden. There is also the friction with colleagues such as Troy, and his corny on-off thing with Crystal (who at one point must pretend to perform a lap dance for Martin to pass a message to him).

The 10-parter is exec-produced by Howard Gordon, who was also behind 24 and Homeland, and Legends is pitched somewhere between that reactionary actioner and the more subtle psycho-drama.

Just who is Martin Odum?

It’s certainly worth a viewing for Bean’s presence and its intriguing theme of identity. In his danger-filled world, chameleon Martin Odum seems to be losing a grip on his own personality, even absent-

mindedly signing a cheque to his wife in the name of Dittmann.

And he is really unnerved when an apparently homeless man tells him, ‘You don’t know where your life begins and you legend ends.’

The opener finishes with a terrific twist as Odum tracks the mysterious vagrant…

Cast: Sean Bean Martin Odum, Ali Larter Crystal McGuire, Tina Majorino Maggie Harris, Steve Harris Director Nelson Gates, Amber Valletta Sonya Odum, Mason Cook Aiden Odum, Rob Mayes Troy Buchannan

Check out this link…
Legends on Sky1

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Gillian Anderson in The Fall, Danny Miller joins Scott & Bailey, Win a Mayday DVD

• Here’s a glimpse of Gillian Anderson as DSI Stella Gibson, who will we see this year in BBC2’s The Fall. The series is set in Northern Ireland and will see Anderson’s character, who is on secondment from the London Met, called in to track down a serial killer who is terrorising Belfast. Jamie Dornan will play Paul Spector, the murderer.

• Former Emmerdale and Lightfields star Danny Miller will be joining Scott & Bailey on 24 April (pictured below). His character, DS Rob Waddington, is set to shake up things for Janet (Lesley Joseph) and Rachel (Suranne Jones), particularly Janet. She’s been filling in for months as acting detective sergeant, only to see Rob the young high-flyer nip in and take the job. ‘He’s learning on the job,’ Danny says. ‘Janet takes him under her wing and he appreciates her experience and intelligence. He doesn’t like confrontation and would rather sit down and work things out. Yet when he has to put his foot down, he will.’ Though S&B has been terrific, the male characters have all been either stupid, pathetic or lecherous. It will be interesting to see if Rob breaks the mould. And, when Janet and Rachel fall out later in the series, will Janet be able to turn to the younger man for advice?

It’s the Bafta TV Awards on 12 May at London’s Royal Festival Hall and there are some terrific crime dramas in the running. CrimeTimePreview will be cheering on Sean Bean and Stephen Graham, who were bold and brilliant in the first episode of the Accused series, Tracie’s Story, in which Bean played spectacularly against type as a transvestite in love. Sheridan Smith (Mrs Biggs) and Sienna Miller (The Girl) are among those scrapping for Leading Actress. Olivia Colman, who could probably be nominated for everything she’s in at the moment (particularly Broadchurch), is up for Supporting Actress in Accused. Scott & Bailey and Ripper Street are chasing Best Drama Series (surely Scott & Bailey is better). And a particular favourite at CrimeTimePreview HQ from 2012 was Murder, which is up for Best Single Drama. Directed by The Killing‘s Birger Larsen for BBC2, this was a gripping depiction of the messiness and ambiguities involved in a murder case. See Bafta’s full nomination list.

• It’s competition time! The first three crime TV fans who become a member of the CrimeTimePreview gang (see the column right), will receive copies of the sinister thriller series Mayday. The complete series of the BBC drama starring Peter Firth and Sophie Okonedo was released this week, costing £19.99. It was written by the team responsible for that other creepy detective series Whitechapel, Ben Court and Caroline Ip, and told the story of the residents of a small town coping with the disappearance of a teenager who was supposed to head the Mayday parade. The woods outside of the town are menacing, while several residents have secrets to hide. So what happened to the May Queen? The DVD’s special features include The Making of Mayday, Cast Filmographies and a Picture Gallery. 
This offer is open to UK residents only. The first three people who become Members of CrimeTimePreview (Join this site, column, right) will be posted free copies of Mayday. The selectees will need to provide their postal address. Deadline: Saturday, 20 April. No prize alternatives. If anyone registers but declines the Mayday DVD, an alternative winner will be selected.

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Accused, BBC1, starring Sean Bean and Stephen Graham PREVIEW

Stephen Graham, Sean Bean
Tony (Stephen Graham) and Tracie (Sean Bean). Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★★½

BBC1: Tuesday, 14 August, 9pm

Story: Simon is a teacher by day and Tracie by night, a lonely tranvestite. She meets Tony, and though the relationship is complicated, Tracie thinks happiness may be close, until events take a tragic turn.

Tracie’s Story – the opener for this new four-part series – is a gobsmacking and daring drama.

And that’s not just because it has the headline-grabbing prospect of Sean Bean –Yorkshire hardman and Game of Thrones‘ Lord Stark – playing slightly against type as a transvestite, but that it is also a tender, funny and tragic story about a scorned type of love.

We first meet Tracie on a lonely night out, calling everyone ‘love’ and running into the all too predictable hostility of a group of lads on a stag night. Less predictably, one of the revellers, satellite and aerial engineer Tony, comes to Tracie’s aid and offers her a lift in his taxi.

Sean Bean in make-up

Stephen Graham is a long way from Al Capone here
Realising that Tony is interested, Tracie invites him in to her house. A rocky relationship develops between two lonely people, Tony being played by Stephen Graham, another actor stepping out of his familiar roles as macho sociopaths such as Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire.

When a writer with the kudos of Jimmy McGovern, the man behind such TV greats as Cracker and The Street, is at the helm of a series, then top talent is clearly ready to step out of their comfort zone because of the quality of the drama.

This is his second series of Accused, each episode written by McGovern and another writer (Shaun Duggan, Carol Cullington, Danny Brocklehurst, Isabelle Grey). The format of the series is that the story will end up in court with the principal character accused of a crime, and here we see flash-forwards of Tracie, or Simon as he is by day, in the dock.

Sean Bean as Simon/Tracie
Tony – the ‘most boring man on the planet’

Dark side of love
The story spirals towards tragedy when Tracie realises that Tony has lied to her about his wife having died. Karen (Rachel Leskovac) is alive and working as a beautician, whom Tracie visits for a makeover.

Simon, a teacher and ‘the most boring man on the planet’, is lonely, hoping that perhaps Tony might be the one to chose to openly have a relationship with a man who risks opprobrium to dress as a woman – ‘because that’s who I am’. Tony is lonely in a marriage of 12 years, with a wife he loves and does not want to hurt, and is finally pushed to desperation.

This is a high-class drama, unsentimental but moving. And it’s great to see good actors really stretched to create such compelling characters.

‘Touching story about a complicated man’ – Sean Bean
Sean Bean reveals that he wasn’t interested in the role at first: “I had a call from my agent saying, ‘Do you fancy playing a transvestite?’ I said, ‘Not really, why?’

‘But as soon as she said it was a Jimmy McGovern project, who I’ve wanted to work with for a while, I was interested. The script was brilliant, and very moving. It’s a really touching story about a complicated man. He has a relationship with another man, which develops into deep love, and then spirals out of control into something quite dark and disturbing.’

‘It’s a grown up story about identity and about being true to who you are.’

In coming weeks the line-up will include Anne Marie Duff, Olivia Colman, John Bishop, Sheridan Smith and Anna Maxwell Martin. Don’t miss it.

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