Strike: The Silkworm. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Tom Burke, Holliday Grainger, Tim McInnerny, Dominic Mafham, Tasmin Topolski, Tom Greaves, Monica Dolan, Liz Williams, Rob Callender, Jeremy Swift, Peter Sullivan, Dorothy Atkinson, Catherine Bailey.

Why anyone would want to be friends with a novelist or any form of writer who sees the muse in almost anything is one of those rare questions that never truly gets answered; to be a friend of a writer is to open yourself up to the knowledge that some part of your personality might be the basis of a character’s reason for existing somewhere down the line.

Worse, if you are the lover of a writer, that your pillow talk could become the angry accusations in which a thriller is set, and then there are those that cross the scribe, made famous forever with all their faults on show; the whole world knowing that you are the inspiration for worst aspects of human behaviour, an unwanted muse that has made the writer a legend.

For any writer, let alone someone as famous, as descriptive and imaginative as J.K. Rowling, even in the guise of Robert Galbraith, the muse and those that can cause harm in the guise of a killer can be the same thing, and in the second televised story of the disabled Private Investigator Strike, The Silkworm, the television viewer gets the insight on the world of literature and just cut-throat it really can be.

The only protest song to come out about the plight of the humble silkworm is The Human League’s Being Boiled, and perhaps the lyrical repose of the song is apt, the carnage inspired, the senselessness of the situation enough to make you turn your head slightly in disgust; the cut-throat world of the quill, ink and imagination is such that being boiled is only the least of the writer’s nightmares when it comes to making sure their literary child is safe from harm.

With Monica Dolan giving a tremendous performance as the mother of a Down’s adult and the wife of the disappeared novelist, The Silkworm is a good addition to the canon of Galbraith/Rowling’s Cornish detective.

Ian D. Hall