Requiem. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Ration * * *

Cast: Lydia Wilson, Joel Fry, James Frechville, Claire Rushbrook, Joanna Scanlon, Pippa Haywood, Tara Fitzgerald, Sian Reece-Williams, Richard Harrington, Simon Kunz, Dyfan Dwyfor, Brendan Coyle, Clare Calbraith, Sam Hazeldine, Bella Ramsey, Caroline Martin, Darren Evans, Charles Dale, Jane Thorne, Charles Dale, Oliver Lansley, Brochan Evans, Sonia Ritter, Gareth Mason, Emmie Thompson, Ffion Jolly, Mali Morse, Nicola Reynolds.

There is nothing that really sets the heart racing in a parent as when they see a child, their child, has gone missing; it might only be for a minute, the heavy anguish soon abated when they realise that the child was just behind them, that they are happy but confused by your fear. It is a feeling hardwired into every parent, for there in the back of the mind is their whole reason for living, gone in an instant.

When that child is lost and then comes back as an adult, grown up but with new memories, a different mother and father having raised them, that is the terrifying truth that people go on, it is just you that is lost in limbo, never able to fully grieve, never able to go forward; it is the funeral song that never gets heard and all that replaces it is mystery.

Requiem is a conundrum, a story that has all the good intentions of being one that is not frightened of the shadow cast by others that have gone before but one that doesn’t have the feeling of resolve in which to give the tale the big bite of the viewer’s soul that it so desperately wants. The final insult coming when the story that has been building up resorts to the inedible and unsatisfying conclusion that would have surely dismissed or pushed even further on; it left far too many questions unsettled and the vagueness of the situation involving Joel Fry’s Hal Fines was enough to dismiss all the good effort the actor had placed in his character from the beginning.

Lydia Wilson’s Matilda Grey withstanding, and perhaps because of the sense of beguilement she brings to the role, very much as she portrayed Mimi Morton in Ripper Street, only Brendan Coyle as former Inspector Kendrick, Sian Reece-Williams and Richard Harrington’s Aron Morgan manage to convey the fear of the village and its dark secrets throughout the sex episodes. A crying shame when actors of the quality of Joanna Scanlon, Clare Calbraith, Claire Rushbrook and Simon Kunz are involved. It also feels a lost opportunity to have not made more of Oliver Lansley’s character; all in all it a six part episode that would have been better served by reducing down to four, cutting out the needless and never to be mentioned again and focusing on what makes a chiller a must see event; the absolute danger of realism, the hidden in the everyday.

Television seems to have a habit of letting down the spine tingling, perhaps too consumed by the need to fill a season, it doesn’t see the value in a story that can be shown to the viewer instead of dragging them by the hand through every minute moment and not delivering on the ultimate climax.

Ian D. Hall