Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Prime Suspect and Fanny Cradock

I didn't watch Torchwood because I was watching the last ever episode of Prime Suspect instead. I'll catch up with Torchwood no doubt, but I don't think it's going to be my kind of thing. I think sex in a show either has to be implied (like it was in Doctor Who) or dealt with in its full adult complexity.

Prime Suspect was melancholy, gentle, and nostalgic. I liked it. There's a review of it in the Guardian today, that I disagree with.

Vodka for breakfast, poisoned relationships and an empty future: the final episode of Prime Suspect offered a dismal portrayal of the older woman who had concentrated on her career to the exclusion of all else.


Nah, I don't think so. I think its theme was that all life has a price, but that Tennison's choices were as valid as anyone else's, and she was facing the future with courage, which is all anyone can do. Certainly she wasn't portrayed as any less worthy than her goody-two-shoes domestic sister. I think this is a subtle point, a better one than a simple triumphalism where the plot is manipulated to elevate one lifestyle choice (career, family, marriage, singleness) as 'the right one'. This happens with women's lives in films and TV shows - the story becomes a tribunal on her choices 'you wasted your life ha ha', 'you made the right choices, you win'. No.

Another show about the choices of a strong-minded woman was Fear of Fanny - a dramatisation of the career of TV cook Fanny Cradock. I watched it last night with my daughter. It was funny and painful. Julia Davis was fantastic as Fanny, and Mark Gatiss was also excellent as her partner, Johnny. Here's a woman who obviously made some very bad choices: as she said in the final scene.

'If I had my life over again, I would have done things differently. I would have used much less fennel.'
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