Belfast killer thriller The Fall best thing on TV in years, say critics
IT'S been heralded as one of the best BBC dramas in years – and it's made in Belfast.
The gripping new psychological thriller looks set to be a huge hit after impressing the critics.
The first episode of gritty five-part crime drama, The Fall, debuts on BBC Two tonight at 9pm and aired on RTE last night.
Starring X Files actress Gillian Anderson, it follows the lives of two very different hunters.
Co Down actor Jamie Dornan stars as serial killer Paul Spector, a grief counsellor who terrorises the women of Belfast, while Anderson takes on the role of DSI Stella Gibson, an officer drafted in by the PSNI from London's Met Police to help solve a grisly murder.
Early previews of The Fall are already proving popular with people on Twitter and Guardian writer Sarah Dempster has described it as "original", and "one of the best BBC dramas in years".
Describing Dornan as "excellent", she added: "The Fall is an exercise in unexpectedness. That it's also one of the best things to have appeared on the BBC in years is almost by the by: this, it booms in its enormous, barrel-lunged Irish brogue, is how to make a relentlessly original, consistently gripping, vast-brained five-part psychological thriller with a gimmick...that never feels like a gimmick, but rather the perfect means of exploring the banality of evil... Phew."
Website Crimetime Preview is also impressed by Dornan's performance.
"The story is plausible and down-to-earth, and doesn't rely on mad plot twists to keep us engaged. And Dornan...is by turns warm, cold and intense as the devious, narcissistic, stalking, peeping killer. The opening episode... will have viewers on the edge of their seats for more."
Commissioned by BBC Northern Ireland, with funding from Northern Ireland Screen, The Fall is written and executive produced by Allan Cubitt, the man behind Prime Suspect 2 and Murphy's Law. There is a big buzz around the series which will also be shown on the Netflix US streaming service from May 28.
Gillian Anderson, the Golden Globe-winning actress who shot to fame playing Dana Scully in the sci-fi series X Files, told Weekend Magazine she "loved working in Northern Ireland" on the show and hopes to get back here for a second series.
In a separate interview, she said filming in Belfast lent the drama a different atmosphere.
"I hope what it ends up doing is unveiling Belfast in a new way. We properly show the city – it's not just interiors the whole time. It gives a really positive spin on the beauty and complexity of the city itself, rather than just the history and the politics of it," she said.
Until now Calvin Klein model-turned-actor Jamie Dornan (31), a former Methodist College Belfast pupil from Holywood, was best known for playing Sheriff Graham in 2011 ABC fantasy series Once Upon a Time.
He explained he had to find his darkest side to play grief counsellor turned serial killer Paul Spector.
"I spent several months reading books about terrible, unspeakable acts carried out by psychopaths," he told Weekend Magazine.
"I read some lovely books like Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer and Why Men Kill. A lot of these guys carry out repeat killings. There's an imbalance... something is chemically wrong.
"Some of them have been spurred on by things that have happened in childhood, like abandonment or abuse. I wanted to try and unearth something like that in Spector.
"But I had to get the balance right between this doting father and a guy who goes out and strangles pretty brunettes. It was an odd experience to do."
Dornan was joined by other local talent in the production, including former Hollyoaks actress Bronagh Waugh, from Coleraine, who plays his wife Sally Ann Spector.
Belfast's Gerard McCarthy and Seainin Brennan also have roles.
Jamie Dornan (31) is a model-turned-actor from Holywood, Co Down. A former pupil of Methodist College Belfast, he is the son of prominent Belfast obstetrician/gynaecologist Jim Dornan.
Jamie dated actress Kiera Knightley for two years and was recently married to singer-songwriter Amelia Warner. He has appeared in Sofia Coppola's film Marie Antoinette and in ABC show Once Upon A Time.