Five Daughters Review: Mean Streets
FIVE DAUGHTERS: Sunday 25th April, BBC1, 9pm (Continued Monday & Tuesday) ALERT ME
Unfortunately, we are all used to seeing the most horrendous chapters of our recent social history dredged up in the form of entertainment. Names like Peter Sutcliffe and Myra Hindley chill us and transfix us in equal measure. However by its very nature, shocking material often makes very watchable TV – if you need evidence of that, simply consider the amount of Hitler programming which flows through the schedule…
But sometimes such an approach is not always required or acceptable. Over the next three evenings, Five Daughters will be telling the story of the Ipswich murders of late 2006, but instead of yet another voyage into the mind of a murderer (always an ultimately anti-climactic experience) the BBC will be concentrating on the five women whose lifes were brutally taken that autumn. Stephen Wright, the pschopath in question, barely gets a look in.
As such this dramatisation, which centres on the police investigation and the lives of Gemma Adams, Annette Nicholls, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell and Tania Nicol, is an ode to drug addiction and poverty rather than the tale of a man-hunt. These were girls who worked in what the media called ‘Ipswich’s Red Light District’ (nothing more than a group of poorly lit and dishevelled streets) looking for ‘business’ and the next fix, consequently the strain placed upon their families by all this is hard to bear.
Special mention should go Jamie Winstone and Ian Hart, who play Anneli Alderton and DCS Stewart Gull respectively, but there are faultless performances throughout this opening episode and bereaved family members have praised the faithful nature of Stephen Butchard’s script, which was constructed from the memories of those who knew the girls best. An engaging piece of television which will both provoke thought and live long in the memory.