Peace dividend

I feel disloyal for doing it, but I have watched 1983, final part of the Red Riding Trilogy, on DVD. I have the three discs because I’m writing a review for a future Word magazine (the DVD, as I’ve mentioned before, is released on April 13). Since they arrived on Friday, I decided to treat myself over the weekend, not just with an advance viewing of this Thursday’s closer, but with a version of what has now confirmed itself to be one of the finest British TV dramas of the last ten years WITHOUT THE ADVERTS. We all seem to be in agreement that the Compare The Market Dot Com idents alone, with their stupid attempts at linking a website that compares insurance quotes to various bits of criminal skulduggery have been ruining Red Riding. (I’m no fool. I understand why a commercial broadcaster must get down on its knees and beg for sponsorship deals like this one, especially across entire strands of its output, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.) I’m clearly not going to ruin the final film for you – needless to say, it makes a good claim for being the best of the three, is easily the most haunting, and Mark Addy is a revelation. That’s as far as my preview goes. Previews always give too much away.

Another note about the DVDs – there are a few exciting extras: a bit of behind-the-scenes featurette action which threatens to let too much light in upon magic, and – more importantly to Peace trainspotters – a number of deleted scenes. Readers of the books will be simulataneously delighted and saddened by the bits they cut out.

Literature update: I’m back into the Quartet, currently reading 1977, the one that got away: Jack Whitehead and Bob Fraser. What a fine, if massively uncomfortable, second film it would have made (and something for Eddie Marsan to get his teeth into as Jack). I can’t see them ever making it now.

Yorkshire update: I’ve just received a review copy of Ian McMillan and Martin Wiley’s Richard Matthewman Stories: Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape, published this very day through the entirely admirable small publisher Pomona. I’m hoping it will act as some kind of northern balm when my Peace obsession subsides.*

* Although don’t hold your breath. Once I’m done with my second reading of the Quartet, I must finish GB84 and read Tokyo: Year Zero.

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