Wednesday, October 12, 2016

TV & Radio News: Keeper of Lost Causes, Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers, Body Count Rising, Foreign Bodies

The film based on Jussi Adler-Olsen's The Keeper of Lost Causes (UK: Mercy) is showing on BBC Four on Saturday (15th) at 9pm.

More details on the BBC Website.

Read Maxine's review of the book, Mercy, translated by Lisa Hartford.

Also of interest next week on BBC Four, is Andrew Marr's Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers which begins on Monday (17th), at 9pm. The first episode deals with detective fiction:
In the first episode of a series that explores the books we (really) read, Andrew Marr investigates the curious case of detective fiction. This is a genre that been producing best-sellers since the 19th century, and whose most famous heroes - Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Inspector Rebus - are now embedded in our collective psyche. But how does detective fiction work- and how do the best crime writers keep us compulsively turning the pages? 

Andrew deconstructs detective stories by looking at their 'rules' - the conventions we expect to be present when we pick up a typical mystery. Because detective fiction is an interactive puzzle, these rules are the rules of a game - a fiendish battle of wits between the reader and the writer. What is remarkable is that instead of restricting novelists (as you might expect), these rules stimulate creativity, and Andrew reveals how clever writers like Agatha Christie have used them to create a seemingly infinite number of story-telling possibilities.

The fictional detective is a brilliant invention, a figure who takes us to (often dark) places that we wouldn't normally visit. While we are in their company, no section of society is off-limits or above suspicion, and Andrew shows how writers have used crime fiction not merely to entertain, but also to anatomise society's problems. 

Andrew interviews modern-day crime writers including Ian Rankin, Sophie Hannah and Val McDermid, while profiling important pioneers such as Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett and Ruth Rendell. Along the way, he decodes various great set-pieces of the detective novel such as Hercule Poirot's drawing room denouements, and the 'locked room' mysteries of John Dickson Carr.
On Radio 4, listen online or download via iPlayer - Body Count Rising:
Killer brandishes knife....squeezes hands tightly around woman's throat....drags body through woods. This could describe any number of prime-time dramas on British TV.

There are numerous dramas with similar recurring narratives - a little girl abducted and murdered, a teenage girl raped, a wife beaten. Cue sinister music, graphic images, and sometimes overly-sexy portrayals of female victims. But has television culture made the depiction of rape and the ritualistic murder of women into an undesirable industry?

Audiences lap it up, but what does our fascination with glossy, high budget TV series, saturated with the corpses of unfortunate women, say about the society we live in, and the way we view women?

Actor Doon Mackichan examines the trend, speaking to criminal sociologist Ruth Penfold-Mounce; Variety's TV critic Sonia Saraiya; Allan Cubbit, writer and director of critically-acclaimed series The Fall; playwright Nick Payn; Elaine Collins, Executive Producer of Shetland; and an actor who has twice played a rape victim.
And courtesy of Radio 4 Extra, you can stream episodes of Mark Lawson's Foreign Bodies series from a couple of years ago:
Series 1 - Mark Lawson presents a history of modern Europe through literary detectives.
Series 2 - Mark Lawson looks at crime fiction as a form for exploring social change around the world.
Series 3 - Mark Lawson examines how mystery novels have reflected five different political systems.

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Thanks for sharing, Karen. I really hope Mercy comes this way at some point. I'd like to see that adaptation very much.