What a fine and suitably chilling portrayal of the Christie murders we are seeing on BBC1 television (‘Rillington Place’).
‘10 Rillington Place’, the film made back in 1971, utilised the original self-same street in West London before it was demolished. Richard Attenborough played Christie and John Hurt played Timothy Evans, the hapless innocent who hung for Christie’s vile notorious crimes.
The original film is very sinister and creepy, yet never over-dramatised, made all the more so because of the complete absence of any background music. As a result, you are drawn into the film from the word go.
I thought that Samantha Morton, playing Ethel (Christie’s wife) and Tim Roth playing the villain himself, were both excellent in the new drama. Christie was brilliantly portrayed as a man who could be utterly creepy yet also possessed a strange charm over his victims.
The sets too - the interior of the house, and garden, were accurately and atmospherically achieved. One mild criticism is the scene supposedly showing the street in Halifax where Christie and his wife originally lived did not look at all like the town. A few millstone grit terraces required there!
Also, a ubiquitous sound throughout the 20th century in British life, up until the late 1960s, was the background whistle of a steam train. In this latest TV drama, set in the late 40s and 50s, we hear the very different mournful cry of an American steam engine. Anyone over the age of 55 will have memories of what a British steam train sounded like.
Apart from these quibbles, full marks to the BBC for a very engaging drama.
John Roberts, St John’s Court, Wakefield