Friday, 25 November 2016
The chilling story of the Rillington Place murders
Injustice is always a heady brew to stir the passions with singular ferocity, but rarely has it been as powerful as in the case of Timothy Evans. His cries as he goes to the gallows in 1950 after his conviction for the killing of his wife open the three-part, fact-based Rillington Place (Tuesday, BBC1, 9pm), and it is a sobering spectacle to all but witness a young man’s life being taken as punishment for something that he did not do.
At its heart this is a story of evil, in the form of John Christie, played with sublime restraint by an almost unrecognisable Tim Roth as a dried prune of a man whose reedy exterior was a successful camouflage for a psychopath with a limitless appetite for sadism, lies and murder.
There’s no false escapism in this grimly accurate depiction of the series of killings – at least eight, some say more – that took place behind the drab facade of 10 Rillington Place in a grey, downtrodden wartime London. The case was filmed before, in 1971, as a psychological thriller turning on the Grand Guignol performance of Richard Attenborough as Christie.
There’s less macabre relish in Roth’s depiction, and in the first episode we see this drab, unprepossessing human being through the eyes of his unfortunate wife Ethel (Samantha Morton). What is lost in superficial entertainment is more than made up for by the compelling fascination of this glimpse into the workings of a dark and damaged mind.
NOT TO BE MISSED...
WALLIAMS AND FRIEND BBC1, Fri, 9.30pm
The winningly naughty David Walliams stars in a new series partnered each week by a different guest star, beginning with Jack Whitehall.
MODUS BBC4, Sat, 9pm
A murder investigation comes all too close to home for police detective Inger (Melinda Kinnaman) in a new Swedish crime drama.
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? BBC1, Thurs, 9pm
She’s the star of Britain’s Got Talent, but Amanda Holden discovers her roots lie across the Channel as she traces her ancestry.