BBC2's 'The Fall' got us talking, but will viewers of last night's series finale come back for more?

It was superbly written, magnificently acted and expertly directed. The Fall had me riveted, in a hypnotic state of suspense, throughout its run

Share

"The most repulsive drama ever broadcast on British TV". It's hardly likely to be one of the quotes that will be used to promote the programme, but this was how the Daily Mail referred to The Fall, the BBC2 series whose fifth and final part was on Monday night. Even allowing for my off-the-shelf liberal approach to most matters - if the Daily Mail hates it, I'm in favour of it - I felt this was rather extreme.

The most repulsive drama ever? I don't think so. Don't they remember The Brothers? Seriously, apart from using The Fall as another stick with which to beat the BBC, the Mail's correspondent felt the series - set in Belfast, and about a serial killer who preys on young, professional women - was sadistic, gratuitously violent, and deeply misogynistic. I had a rather different view: I thought it was superbly written, magnificently acted (Gillian Anderson was at the very top of her game) and expertly directed. It has had me riveted, in a hypnotic state of suspense, throughout its run.

But I'm not saying the Daily Mail's critique should be summarily dismissed. The Fall made for deeply uncomfortable viewing. The violence perpetrated against young women was sickening, and there is an argument that this shouldn't be the subject of prime-time drama, a shock tactic in the chase for viewing figures. But, of course, what makes the subject matter of The Fall so affecting and so powerful is that we know there is an underlying truth at work here: our lives are punctuated - almost on a daily basis - with gruesome stories of violence against women, of rape, of domestic attacks, of sadism and brutality. I found that The Fall was uncompromisingly confrontational in that respect, and, without being in the least polemic, opened up these issues for inspection.

As a piece of drama, too, it was very unusual. The killer, whose identity was known to us from the start, was not your standard villain. Played by Jamie Dornan - the former boyfriend of Keira Knightley - he was handsome, charismatic, articulate and athletic. Stripped to the waist, as he often was, he looked...I think the mot juste is ripped. Killers can be good-looking, too.

Equally, the series ended, not with resolution or cliff-hanging tension, but almost mid-sentence, followed by the message on screen: "To be continued". Of all the unresolved questions left in the air, the one about whether The Fall would be commissioned for a second series has, it would appear, already been decided. For many, this was an unsatisfactory ending, provoking howls of outrage on Twitter, although how anyone could have thought this complex, multi-layered drama could have been neatly tied up in the space of an hour is beyond me.

More than that, however, I love the idea that we are being made to wait. We live in an era of instant gratification, a world where no one seems to have the attention span for the long haul. The Fall will be back soon enough, and I will guarantee one thing: those of us who stayed with this exceptional piece of drama over the past five weeks will not forget how we left it.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

M&E Construction Planner Solihull

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Car, Healthcare, Pensions: Progressive Recruitment...

Senior Java Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Leading Sof...

Chemistry Teacher

£90 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Assistant Editor: Domestic violence is no petty matter

Siobhan Norton
 

There’s nothing wrong with GM

Steve Connor
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried