ACCUSED (BBC) “Alison’s Story” Review

Naomi Harris

ACCUSED “Alison’s Story” Series 1 Episode 6 [UK] – This week’s ACCUSED is the final instalment in the excellent series written by Jimmy McGovern. Alison’s Story is about infidelity and marriage breakdown – an ordinary tale but with McGovern nothing is ever ordinary in this story of lust, betrayal and revenge.

The challenge of the Accused series is how to make an hour of drama entertaining when the audience is shown a defendant in the dock awaiting trial – it’s like knowing the ship sinks in Titanic, why bother right? Well the answer is fill each episode with a rich cast of strong British talent and give them a script which is as complex as it is brave. Alison’s Story is no exception.

When I saw that Naomie Harris would be the lead I was excited to see it as she was brilliant in last years Channel 4 drama Poppy Shakespeare. Here she plays a mother with a young family who has an affair, is caught and then has to battle her increasingly unstable husband who attempts to frame her to get sole custody of their children.

Initially I did feel for Alison’s husband. She has a life away from the home, an interesting, rewarding job while David’s left to play house husband – cooking, cleaning, organising birthday parties. His life is his family. That is until he snaps, rapes Alison and then goes all Cape Fear turning into a class A nutcase.

It has been said in reviews that McGovern has a habit of torturing his leads and with the rape scene this Accused was no different. The tender love scene of the affair could not have been more starkly juxtaposed against violent act of a misguided attempt to reinstate his control over his wife. Not a program for children and despite being shown after the watershed a 9 o’clock viewing was maybe still too early.

The direction this episode would take was unclear until the very end and as a suitably sinister David (played wonderfully by Warren Brown) looked to become the victim of the piece. His taunts of “Mummy say goodbye to the kids” and increasingly creepy attitude seemed to be heading towards a kill or be killed ending for Alison. My only criticism of previous Accused episodes has been a rather rushed implausible ending. This week however was rooted in reality and it was refreshing to have a happy(ish) ending an acquitted Alison is realised.

As Accused ends I think everyone involved with the series can be extremely proud. Each week we have been treated to some of the most raw TV drama of the whole year. Light on comedy, a laugh-a-minute they were not but they were realist, character driven and consistently of high quality.

What are your thoughts on the Accused series? Have you enjoyed them or glad to see them end? Let us know in the comment box below!!