Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
Cast: Martin Shaw, Lee Ingleby, Heather Carroll, Lisa McGrillis, Lorcan Cranitch, Steven Elder, Don Gallagher, Simon Hubbard, Emma Rigby, Victoria Bewick, Anamaria Marinca, Maria Stockley, Robert Lonsdale, Derek Hutchinson, Paul Warriner, Rachel Teate, Christopher Tembey.
A television series can too often outlive its life expectancy, the natural story that drew the viewer in coming to a stuttering halt and becoming less than the perfect ideal viewing it once was proudly claimed to be. In some cases though what might have been perceived as the final adventures of a much loved character might not be enough, the finale of a person’s life left hanging, stuck in the rounds of congratulations and non-committal farewells. Such was the fate of Martin Shaw’s Inspector George Gently, left dangling after a successful case cracked, there really was a couple of more hurrahs left in the soul but none seemed forth coming.
For Martin Shaw, especially in a career of playing much loved and admired characters, Inspector George Gently has particularly stood out as one of the easily identified and superbly written parts the actor has had to portray, a man of integrity, of solid disposition in the face of adversity and criminal activity, both outside and inside the police station.
Perhaps though the fact that the series has been so well received, that the characters contained, that of Gently himself but also Bacchus, played the brilliant Lee Ingleby and Lisa McGrillis’s Rachel Coles, have been seen to be strong and well developed by the makers of the programme that a true and final hurrah in the shape of two more final episodes to wrap it all together was only inevitable and certainly most welcome.
Gently Liberated takes the inspector into very early 1970, attitudes which had already begun to change as the late 60s gave way to this new decade, gathered pace and a sense of female empowerment was taking place, not like the situation in the 1990s which in hindsight was more about marketing and consumerism tied into selling sex and packaging. This was the true definition of a movement, angry and with absolutely every right to be and one that not only broke the doors down with unabridged Feminism but also splintered the once impenetrable oak to pieces.
Justice is never served by those not willing to shine a light under possible answer, to seek an easy conviction is cowardly and to cave to the request to do so is pusillanimous and craven.
Gently Liberated may be the penultimate ever episode of this much loved show but it was one that hit home time and time again just how the relationships between men and women were often portrayed at the time and one that truly needed the advent of 70s Feminism to break down huge barriers.
Ian D. Hall