|Red alert for Richie Beckett (Peter Mullan) in The Fear. Pics: C4|
Channel 4: starts Monday, 3 December, 10pm
|Eyeball to eyeball with the Albanians|
Story: Richie Beckett, former gang boss turned respected Brighton businessman, pledges money to help rebuild a pier. But Richie's mind is in turmoil and the empire he runs with his sons is endangered by a vicious Albanian gang.
Tony Soprano famously suffered panic attacks and had to see a shrink. In C4’s new hard-knuckle crime drama The Fear we have another gang boss whose mind is under assault.
But Richie Beckett’s turmoil is more serious and urgent, because just when his Brighton-based empire is under siege from a gang of Albanian psychos, Richie is starting to lose his identity.
He is suffering from some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s. This would be alarming enough in the new role he has taken on as respectable local businessman, but when his family and interests are suddenly under threat from the vicious newcomers in town, this is calamitous.
|Richie with sons Cal and Matty|
Peter Mullan is excellent as the fearsome family head, veering alarmingly between menace and bewilderment. Harry Lloyd and Paul Nicholls are his sons, Matty and Cal, who, along with their mother (Anastasia Hille) think their father is on the booze again.
Cal, the eldest and a creep who revels in his dad’s notoriety, wants to broker some deal with the family of Vajkal, the Albanian guvnor. But the Albanians implicate him in the grisly murder of a prostitute he has used, keeping her beheaded corpse as evidence to incriminate Cal if the Becketts don’t fall into line.
Richie is therefore dragged into a meeting at the Albanians’ farmhouse retreat. Irritable, sleepless, forgetful – Richie can’t even remember battering a young man on the front in broad daylight – his presence at the farmhouse is as sensible as juggling gelignite.
|Cal (Paul Nicholls)|
The Fear is being shown over four consecutive nights and is a bruising but riveting portrait of a criminal in decline, haunted by his past and out of touch with the present. And it's a story with emotion, as in the scene where Richie enters his wife's bedroom and asks if he can lie with her. Amid his confusion and increasing aggression, he seeks some feeling of closeness with his estranged wife.
Brighton is evocatively photographed as a lurid but at the same time genteel backdrop, regency buildings juxtaposed with drag entertainers and night-time revellers.
Writer Richard Cottan has created a rich thriller, though having Richie’s wife buying a couple of paintings called Confusion 1 & 2 was not the most ingenious bit of symbolism.
Still, the opener sets up a drama full of tension and dread, setting in motion what can only be a fearsome, tragic train of events.
Peter Mullan Richie Bennett
Anastasia Hille Jo Beckett
Harry Lloyd Matty Beckett
Paul Nicholls Cal Beckett
Demosthenes Chrysan Vajkal
Dragos Bucur Marin
Shaban Arifi Davit
Julia Ragnarsson Zana
Danny Sapani Wes
Source (including photos): Crime Time Preview
Peter Mullan discussed 'The Fear'
Here, Mullan reveals a little more about the drama.
Tell us about Richie...
Well, Richie sees himself as a business man, so called, but he is a gangster in reality, which I suppose some business men are, at least in my book anyway.
He's recently realised that his behaviour is quite aberrant and through the course of the series he discovers he has Alzheimer's - a very aggressive form of it which takes hold in a concentrated period of time. It's extreme.
In the meantime, there is another group of gangsters who have come over from Albania to try and take over his patch. And his family have to, on the one hand cope with his increasingly erratic behaviour, but also disguise it at the same time because they don't want it known to the wider gangster community that he's no longer in charge of his faculties.
Describe the effects on his relationship with his wife and sons?
He becomes more aggressive, more emotional and in a weird way, paradoxically, more open, more vulnerable than he's ever been before. And so in some respects it brings the family closer together - but obviously in other respects it rips them apart because his nature is to fight things. So he's fighting - in this case - the unfightable. So instead of coping and finding the support he needs to get through these things, his behaviour becomes more and more violent and unpredictable. That obviously pushes the family away.
How does The Fear differ from other gangster dramas?
The thing that attracted me to it was the combination of the two aspects - a gangster with Alzheimer's is interesting, to me. A gangster TV series, I'm not interested in.
What grabbed me about it was that someone with a very dark past and a very shady present should have to come to terms with a disease that has claimed the lives of millions and caused so many families to suffer. I have lost a lot of my family to Alzheimer's. So the idea that he is a guy that quite rightly you should not - nor ever should - sympathise with, but the nature of the illness demands a certain degree of empathy - not sympathy - empathy, to understand that even bad people get diseases. And as far as I'm concerned he's been a pretty bad boy to say the least. His previous actions, well you would be more than justified in saying he's not a pleasant human being. So now he's been diagnosed, his false persona becomes unravelled and you get to see who he is and what is at the heart of him.
Will audiences pity Richie?
I would hope empathise - I don't think you would pity him. He's just too unpleasant to pity, but yeah there are certain moments when I guess you may not dislike him as much. But I certainly wouldn't sympathise with him. I mean, you're looking at a guy who has been running a drug empire for years, he has killed people to get to where he is and he wouldn't think twice - in the past - about the number of lives he has destroyed through the so-called illegal product that he sells. But no I hope they wouldn't pity him because that would lead to sympathy and let him off the hook.
Source (including photo): Channel 4
Channel4 trailer for The Fear starring Peter Mullan
Published on Nov 15, 2012 by James Brown
Channel4 cinema trailer for The Fear starring Peter Mullan.
Music is Colliders by Raffertie
Voice Over is Hermione Norris