The Fall 3, Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 20/09/2016 - Programme Name: The Fall - TX: n/a - Episode: Episode 1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 20th SEPTEMBER 2016** DSI Stella Gibson (GILLIAN ANDERSON) - (C) The Fall 3 Ltd - Photographer: Helen Sloan

Curtain call – DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson)

It’s all blood and guts as The Fall returns – but will it return to form?

★★★½ BBC2, Thursday, 29 September, 9pm

ANYONE IN TRAINING to join the medical staff of an ER department should watch this opening episode. It must be the most detailed depiction of operating on gunshot victims ever seen in a primetime drama.

The Fall - TX: n/a - Episode: Episode 1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 20th SEPTEMBER 2016** BEHIND THE SCENES Paul Spector (JAMIE DORNAN) - (C) The Fall 3 Ltd - Photographer: Helen Sloan

Get well soon – Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan)

From CPR to blood units to delving right into Paul Spector’s insides, few aspects of the procedure are spared. Half of the first episode is absorbed in blow-by-blow accounts of medical teams dealing with Spector and his injured victim Rose Stagg. Casualty is kids TV in comparison to this and new face Dr Joe O’Donnell (actor Richard Coyle) is virtually star of the show.

In terms of the drama, you wonder what the point of all this gore is. At the disappointing end of series two, we wondered why Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson had rushed to woman-killer Paul Spector’s side rather than that of the colleague she had recently slept with, the also injured DS Tom Anderson.

And would the much abused victim Rose survive her ordeal at his hands? Has Anderson made it?

Gillian Anderson is as icy as ever as Stella

These cliffhangers are forgotten for a while. In what is a rather strange return, The Fall instead focuses on Spector’s travails in the operating theatre. The medical emphasis seems to be pointing out the irony of the all the effort that would go into saving a vile murderer. As one of the medical teams at Belfast General Hospital says, ‘No expense spared.’

The Fall - TX: n/a - Episode: Episode 1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 20th SEPTEMBER 2016** BEHIND THE SCENES Paul Spector (JAMIE DORNAN) - (C) The Fall 3 Ltd -The Fall Photographer: Helen Sloan

Rebel with a cause – Katie Benedetto (Aisling Franciosi)

Eventually, we get some relief from sutures and spleens. Gibson is confronted about her apparent devotion to Spector and we find out about Rose and Tom’s long-term prospects. The pressure is also turned up on Stella as the police honchos suspect she is out of control.

Katie (Aisling Franciosi) is still the troublesome teen, ostracising family and friends in her desperation to rush to her imaginary lover’s bedside.

Happily Gillian Anderson is still on great form as the Ice Queen, inscrutable, talking in whispers. She has a lot more to do than Jamie Dornan as Spector, who gets to move a finger. And John Lynch looks as constipated as ever as Stella’s boss and ex-lover Jim Burns.

Will The Fall become The Fail?

I think The Fall lost so much viewer goodwill at the end of series two that many think it will never be anything other than The Fail. Writer Allan Cubitt had got inside the sick mind of a psychopath and set up the hunted-hunted theme brilliantly in series one. He also picked up several awards along the way, including a British Screenwriters’ Award.

Then there was that ending to conclude series two, which seemed to make nonsense of Stella as a character. I’ve heard of people close to the show also predicting that it’s going to be rubbish. However, that might be premature. I suspect Cubitt was setting up a cliffhanger with that finale and will backtrack by getting Stella in the groove once again.

And it wouldn’t be The Fall if if didn’t also chill us. Devotees will soon realise as episode one closes that the nurse attending Spector (new cast member Aisling Bea) is just his dark-haired type…

 Programme Name: The Fall - TX: n/a - Episode: Episode 1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows: *Embargoed until 00.01 20th September 2016* DREAM SEQUENCE Paul Spector (JAMIE DORNAN) - (C) The Fall 3 Ltd - Photographer: Helen Sloan

Dream sequence – Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan)

The Fall series 2 – finale falls flat

I WAS swept along by the latest series of The Fall. The acting has been spot on, the multi-layered

storylines have been intriguing, the setting and mood was compelling.

But the end was a crashing disappointment. The big twist that Stella had developed a weird thing for the serial killer Spector was not so much a revelation as a breathtaking letdown.

Gillian Anderson as DSI Stella Gibson and Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector had deservedly won plaudits and huge attention for their performances in the lead roles, but as the series concluded last night it felt as though The Fall had failed to deliver.

SPOILER ALERT My feeling was that Stella being shown as caring for the shot and injured murderer rather than the detective she had just made love to, who’d also been shot, was simply not convincingly developed through the series. We had to believe that because she had a father fixation she was therefore prone to fall for a serial killer.

The viewer needed to know more about her to believe that. What happened in her past? We never found out, and it was the character’s plausibility that was shot by the end.

And so many characters and plot lines were discarded. We’d spent a lot of time with Spector’s wife during the two series, but just when she finally discovers that she’s been married to a killer she disappears from the story. Katie Benedetto also remained an enigma right to the end, while we got to see tortured victim Rose Stagg’s suffering before she was virtually forgotten.

Then there was the corruption storyline from the first series that was ditched. Meanwhile, abusive husband Jimmy was the show’s deus ex machina, a side character who conveniently appears from nowhere to shoot everyone and wrap things up.

The irony was that writer Allan Cubitt seemed so intent on setting up the final interview confrontation – the one part of the finale that worked best – but he dropped too many stories and characters along the way and never gave us a convincing Stella.

The Fall seems set up for a third series. But I won’t now be waiting with bated breath.

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The Fall 2, BBC2, with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan PREVIEW

The Fall - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  DSI Stella Gibson (GILLIAN ANDERSON), Paul Spector (JAMIE DORNAN)  - (C) The Fall 2 L
DSI Gibson (Gillian Anderson) and Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan). Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★★½

BBC2: starts Thursday, 13 November, 9pm

Story: It has been ten days since Paul Spector told DSI Stella Gibson that she would never catch him. As Gibson tries in vain to help Spector’s surviving victim remember the identity of her attacker, Spector is forced to deal with the loose ends that he left behind in Belfast.

SERIES ONE of The Fall had its uncomfortable moments of violence against women and the brutal murder of a victim’s brother in its final episode. The second series’ opener again spends a lot of time in the spine-chilling company of serial killer Paul Spector, but the horror is kept at bay – for now at least.

Instead, we get closer to the characters. Things are not going too well for the arch fantasist and evil
manipulator Spector, played with pent-up menace again by Jamie Dornan.

He’s now in Scotland, to where he fled with his wife and children after taunting DSI Stella Gibson at the end of the last series. However, his estranged wife, Sally, has returned to Belfast, and Annie Brawley, the dark-haired young accountant of his last thwarted attack in the Shankill, has given police a description of him.

Spector returns to Belfast

Gibson is also working hard to get a proper statement from Rose Stagg, the woman who was an early

Paul Spector (JAMIE DORNAN)  - (C) The Fall 2
Losing control? Spector

survivor of the killer’s. Finally, there is the problem of Katie, the 15 -year-old family babysitter he got rough with.

When he returns to Belfast to tackle these blips in his well-ordered campaign of murder, Katie taunts him about the lock of hair that he kept, one of his trophies. She stirs trouble for Spector with his wife…

So, while initially steering away from the shocks and violence, writer/director Allan Cubitt opens up the second series by posing new problems and possibilities for Gibson and Spector. Continued…

Gibson’s vulnerability

In exploring the mindsets of the hunter and hunted, he gives us glimpses into Gibson’s vulnerability and Spector’s brazen superiority complex. On a train in Belfast, he laughingly asks an attractive woman sitting opposite if she thinks a newspaper’s photofit image of the serial killer looks like him.

DSI Stella Gibson (GILLIAN ANDERSON) - (C) The Fall 2
Gibson is under pressure

Gibson tells Annie how she coped when ‘feelings and emotions overwhelmed me’. Was the detective also victim of an attack? Gibson and Spector mirror each other in many ways, particularly in Gillian Anderson’s exceedingly cool and controlled portrayal of the senior officer.

It’s an opening episode that ups the ante for all concerned, and throws open many questions as it delves into the psychology of Gibson and Spector and the complexity of this kind of investigation.

Brilliant twist in the tail

Annie Brawley (KAREN HASSAN) - (C) The Fall 2
In danger – Annie Brawley

The Fall was BBC2’s biggest drama to launch in eight years in 2013, grabbing 3.5m viewers. Signs
are that series two’s intriguing portrait of its protagonists, to say nothing of the mystery of the killing of Gibson’s one-night stand, detective sergeant Olson, should keep viewers rooted to their sofas.

The final line of dialogue in the curtain-raiser is also something of a humdinger that makes it almost impossible not to watch the next episode.

Cast: DS Stella Gibson Gillian Anderson, Paul Spector Jamie Dornan, Sally Ann Spector Bronagh Waugh, Asst Chief Con Jim Burns John Lynch, Prof Tanya Reed Smith Archie Panjabi, Annie Brawley Karen Hassan

Check these links…
Interviews with Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan and Allan Cubitt
The Fall 2 trailer

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The Fall 2 trailer

Jamie Dornan, so unforgettable as the murderer in BBC2’s The Fall, alongside Gillian Anderson, says he was shaking when he read Allan Cubitt’s outline for the follow-up series. Here’s a taster…

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The Fall episode 1 — What we’re watching

DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) in BBC2's The Fall
Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson. Pics: BBC

Writer/blogger Pat Nurse settles down to watch the opening episode of BBC2’s The Fall – through her fingers…

HANG ON to the edge of your seat, peek through your fingers if you must, but be prepared for a fast-paced, disturbing new thriller that will have you hooked.

The Fall, BBC2’s new crime drama set in Belfast, started on Monday night and sees Gillian Anderson as the Metropolitan police detective Stella Gibson sent over to review an unsolved murder case, which she soon suspects is part of a series of killings by the same person.   

The Irish assistant chief constable (John Lynch) doesn’t believe her — or doesn’t want to — but the viewer knows Gibson is right. We’ve met and followed the murderer Paul Spector, played with chilling perfection by actor Jamie Dornan.  

The serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) in BBC2's The Fall
Stalker Paul Spector

In his ‘normal’ life he is a conventionally married father of two young children. In his other life, he is perverse, violent, and appears to relieve the stress of his demanding family with murder, torture and the control of professional young women that he stalks.  

It’s impossible not to feel a shudder as he enters victim Sarah Kay’s house, when she’s not in, and rummages through her underwear, leaving traces of his presence like a dog leaving a scent.  

Sarah, played by Laura Donnelly, finds her underwear laid out on her bed and calls the police, who don’t take her too seriously — until it’s too late.

Anderson plays a strong female character that reminded me of Helen Mirren’s Jane

Sarah Kay (Laura Donnelly) in BBC2's The Fall
Sarah is targeted

Tennison in Prime Suspect — parts of which were also written by The Fall writer Alan Cubit.  

Part two is on next Monday (BBC 2, 9pm). The victim will be found, Gibson’s worst fears that a serial killer is on the loose will be realised, but first Spector takes his time in killing and torturing the woman, so be prepared for gore — or do as I do, hide from the worst of it by peeking through your fingers. Then find a comedy to watch before bedtime. The Fall could well give you nightmares.  

• What did you think of The Fall? Comment below…

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The Fall, BBC2, with Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan PREVIEW

The Fall BBC2 The serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) and DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson)
Hunting the hunter – Gillian Anderson as DSI Gibson. Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★★½

BBC2: Monday, 13 May, 9pm

StoryWhen a murder in Belfast remains unsolved, DSI Stella Gibson is brought in from the London Metropolitan Police to review the case. She soon suspects that the killing is related to another murder.

GILLIAN ANDERSON stars alongside relative newcomer Jamie Dornan in this complex and dark serial killer drama, set in Belfast.

While the fiendishly brilliant serial murderer has become a cop show cliche since The Silence of the Lambs, The Fall is a far more intriguing portrait of a lone killer operating under the guise of your normal family man.

Unfolding with visual flair (directed by Jakob Verbruggen) and with multi-layered characters written by Allan Cubitt (one of the Prime Suspect writers), this will fill the Monday night hole left by Broadchurch in the must-see TV stakes.

The Fall BBC2 DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson)
Stella wants to head the investigation

The Fall is not a whodunit
Not that The Fall is a whodunit like the David Tennant/Olivia Colman series. It is more a how-will-they-catch-him gripper.

DSI Stella Gibson is called in from the Met in London to review a Belfast murder inquiry that has stalled. The female victim is the daughter of a politician.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has investigated many sectarian killings down the years, but the sexually motivated murder is a crime they have little experience of. It is not long before Gibson suggests the killing may be linked to an earlier crime in which a woman’s bound body was found in her wardrobe.

Paul Spector – daddy and stalker

The Fall BBC2 The serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) and his wife Sally Ann (Bronagh Waugh)
Family man Paul and his wife, Sally-Ann


The audience knows more than the characters in this drama, because we can see Paul Spector going about his daily routine as a grief counsellor, daddy, stalker and predator. As he talks through the grief of one bereaved couple in his office, he sits drawing nude sketches of the mother before him.

Outside of work he has in his sights a young female solicitor, a brunette whom we soon realise fits a type he is obsessed with, and he burgles her home, arranging her underwear on her bed for when she returns.

More chilling are the scenes of him at home, father to his children and husband to his wife, who’s a nurse. The monster hiding behind a mask.

The Fall vs Hannibal
Gibson, whom Gillian Anderson plays as an understated but formidable personality, starts to ruffle the local force with her theory that a sexual predator is at work. She puts herself forward to head the Task Force to hunt the hunter.

Solicitor Sarah is stalked

The story is plausible and down-to-earth, and doesn’t rely on mad plot twists to keep us engaged. And Dornan, the former Calvin Klein model perhaps best known as the sheriff from the fantasy series Once Upon a Time, is by turns warm, cold and intense as the devious, narcissistic, stalking, peeping killer.

The opening episode (of five) ends on a chilling note that will have viewers on the edge of their seats for more.

Incidentally, Gillian Anderson, who since her cult stardom in The X Files in the 1990s has been something of a BBC costume star in recent years (Bleak House, The Crimson Petal and the White, Great Expectations), can currently also be seen in Hannibal over on Sky Living. But while the Hannibal Lector show is full of gore and outlandishly twisted murders, The Fall is nearer the truth and a far more engrossing portrayal of a killer among us.

Cast: Gillian Anderson Stella Gibson, Jamie Dornan Paul Spector, Archie Panjabi Tanya Reed Smith, Bronagh Waugh Sally-Ann Spector, John Lynch Jim Burns, Niamh McGrady Danielle Ferrington, Laura Donnelly Sarah Kay, Frank McCusker Garrett Brink, Simon Delaney Jerry McElroy, Siobhan McSweeney Mary McCurdy, Gerard Jordan Brian Stone, Michael McElhatton Rob Breedlove, Ben Peel James Olson, Karen Hassen Annie Brawley, Lisa Hogg Marion Kay, Emmett Scanlan Glen Martin, Aisling Francios Katie

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