Last night's viewing - The Fall, BBC2; The Flying Archaeologist, BBC4

 

"No one knows what's going on in someone else's mind and life would be intolerable if we did," murmurs Paul to his wife soothingly. Paul knows what he's talking about. He's a therapist and bereavement counsellor and, apparently, a loving father, currently a little preoccupied, like his wife, by his daughter's recurrent nightmares. In fact, the two of them are in her bed, the little girl having been resettled in the parental room after waking up screaming.

But Paul's general observation has a sharp personal resonance too. Like him, we're aware that his wife's hand is just an inch away from the psychopathic journal he's hastily concealed beneath the pillow. And this isn't something he's brought back from the office. It's all his own work.

It was a nice moment in Alan Cubitt's new Belfast-set thriller, The Fall, or at least nicely creepy, which is one of the things we ask for from a serial-killer drama. And it underlined one of the central twists in this addition to a frankly overcrowded genre. We know who did it from the opening minutes, and we know he's a killer before we discover the far more unsettling information – in the context of our genre expectations – that he's a gentle daddy. Weirdos in hoods who prowl around women's bedrooms fingering their underwear are two a penny in television crime. Weirdos who then go home and give their little boy a cuddle because he's woken in the night and is frightened are a good deal less common.

But then The Fall is interestingly skewed from the beginning. How many times has the camera stalked a woman moving around her bathroom as the prelude to fictional gynocide? How many times, though, does it turn out to be the detective not the victim; in this case, Gillian Anderson at her most dressed-down, with a face-pack on and cleaning the tide-mark off the bath.

It lasts a long time, that studiously downbeat beginning, and then, just as you're wondering what you're meant to make of domesticity this drab, there's an unsettling echo: the film cuts to another bathroom and a figure in black pottering far less innocently, just the first of several pointed connections between the killer and the woman who will end up looking for him.

They're connected by psychology too, a combination of control and transgressive impulse. As Stella Gibson, a Metropolitan police officer brought in to review a stalled murder investigation, Anderson is all icy reserve. Climbing into the hotel swimming pool she puts on her goggles as if she's assembling a watch. But she keeps a journal too, a record of dreams that seem to come from a far less ordered place than the crisp white blouse and clipped diction. The killer, meanwhile, can still the murderous rage in a grief-stricken father but do nothing with the compulsion that is driving him to repeat his crime.

There is a political subplot brewing up – with a corrupt Unionist politician leaning on the conduct of the investigation – and (because I was sufficiently gripped to look ahead at episode two) an eruption of violence in a direction you haven't suspected. But for the moment, the heart of the thing is in the enigma of two minds, both predators of a kind, both prey to compulsions and both gratifyingly more complicated than the stock types we're conventionally given. It seems a pity that, yet again, attractive young women have to be sacrificed for public entertainment. But at least the entertainment is more thoughtful than usual.

In The Flying Archaeologist, Ben Robinson took to the skies over Hadrian's Wall to share recent archaeological findings that are "rewriting history". Bullet-point revelation? The wall wasn't a demarcation between wilderness and semi-civilisation – a real life equivalent to the northern border in Game of Thrones – but a fortification with prosperity and settlement on both sides of it. Think Catterick, with togas and goatskin tents.

Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Arts and Entertainment
All-new couples 'Come Dine With Me'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne
musicReview: BST Hyde Park, London
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart star in Almost Royal burning bright productions
tvTV comedy following British ‘aristos’ is accused of mocking the trusting nature of Americans
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil