At last, a hard-hitting TV drama without the usual hard-core cursing.
Who knew murder could be so refreshingly clean?
I may be a bit late to the party, but I just discovered one of Acorn TV's hidden gems.
London Kills is a brilliant British detective drama that dares to be different, in that it’s surprisingly non-sweary.
Not that I’m a prude or anything. Okay, so I am a bit of a prude, but I really do appreciate the important purpose and place for profanity, and mainstream television is not one of them.
Every culture and language has its own expletives as a means of expressing extreme emotion - the final warning in verbal form. However, as obscenity-littered scripts have become TV norm on both sides of the Atlantic, I’m convinced there is a link between the now common acceptance of cursing in everyday language and a more violent society. As swear words lose their power, how can humans successfully communicate anger without resorting to physical aggression? And films and television are largely responsible for this. Rather than being used sparingly for maximum dramatic effect, four-letter words are casually thrown around on screen, desensitizing viewers to their impact without us hardly even noticing.
Okay, rant over and back to London Kills.
Made exclusively for Acorn TV in 2019 and later broadcast on BBC 1, London Kills features a backdrop of iconic city landmarks and follows a team of top murder detectives. This specialist squad is headed by broody Detective Inspector David Bradford (played by Hugo Speer) who is battling personal anguish and haunted by the fact that his wife has been missing for the past three months. He is assisted by Detective Sergeant Vivienne Cole (Sharon Small) who’s hard-as-nails (don’t let her cute little hair clips fool you) and all-round nice bloke Detective Constable Rob Brady, played by Bailey Patrick. The new girl is trainee DC Billie Fitzgerald (Tori Allen-Martin), who spends much of the first episode puking up her breakfast at crime scenes and morgues.
The main characters are instantly likable, the storylines grim, gritty and bloody, and the series is shot in cutting-edge documentary style. The squad room phone-ringing soundtrack is very jingly-jangly and a little distracting at times, but each epiosde focuses on a different murder and there is a continuous thread surrounding the mystery of Bradford’s missing wife throughout the series to keep us all guessing.
London Kills is sleek, modern and fast-paced.The Times described it as “Brilliant original drama… totally gripping”. It’s intense, powerful, emotional, shocking; all this and not a single F-word to be heard. London Kills proves that TV shows can still be hard-hitting without the need for constant cursing or obscenity overload.
And that makes a refreshing change.
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