TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Stretched on a mental rack

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Ever since his celebrated performance as Yosser Hughes in Boys from the Blackstuff, Bernard Hill has excelled in the portrayal of pain. His latest incarnation - as Mike, a father who murders his daughter, in OLLY'S PRISON (11.15pm BBC2) - is another man being stretched on a mental rack. One evening Mike, a lonely widower, makes a cup of tea for his daughter Sheila (Charlotte Coleman, impressive in a difficult role). Infuriated by her uncommunicativeness - she sits at the dining-room table, staring into space, hardly blinking - he tries to shock a response out of her. He blocks the door with a chair, refusing to let her leave the room until she has drunk the tea. When Sheila still won't react, Mike calmly strangles her, whispering 'my child, my child', props her body up in the seat and continues to chat to her. He even writes out a cheque for the electricity bill. Edward Bond's first television drama, broadcast on three consecutive evenings as part of the 'Crime and Punishment' season, shows the shocking banality of a domestic murder over a cup of tea. It is strong meat, digestible only for a late night audience, but still likely to stick in some viewers' craws.

(Photograph omitted)

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