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The Fall: BBC defends violent finale

Horrific death of killer in TV drama leaves viewers shocked

By Allan Preston

Published 29/10/2016

Paul Spector, played by Jamie Dornan
Paul Spector, played by Jamie Dornan

The BBC has defended the shocking finale of Belfast-set se­rial killer drama The Fall, which left viewers stunned last night by the episode's graphically-violent end, which showed horrifically-detailed scenes, in which Jamie Dornan's character took his own life through asphyxiation.

The thriller, starring Holy­wood-born actor, Jamie Dornan (34), and X-Files star Gillian An­derson (48), had been criticised during its third series for its slow pace.

But several explicitly-violent scenes, including not only the profoundly disturbing suicide sequence, with its lingering focus on the apparatus used by Dornan, but also a brutal and sustained physical attack on Anderson's character, DSI Stella Gibson, brought viewers a stunningly-vicious denouement after the series' low-key build-up.

Dornan's murderous char­acter, Paul Spector, began the season waking from a coma af­ter being shot in the season two cliffhanger, claiming to have no memory of his numerous crimes.

As DSI Gibson prepared a wa­tertight case for his trial, Spector appeared a remorse­ful prisoner.

But finally, Gibson appeared to break him in an interroga­tion room, exposing his amnesia as a fraud.

An enraged Spector sudden­ly lashes out at Gibson and is seen punching her repeatedly in the face and kicking her several times in the ribs.

Another male detective in the scene has his arm viciously bro­ken by Spector.

Further uncomfortable view­ing followed, as Spector orches­trated a riot in a psychiatric fa­cility, murdering an inmate before meet­ing his own violent and self-inflicted death.

A BBC spokesperson defended the final instalment, saying that audience expectations had been carefully managed throughout.

"The Fall is an established dra­ma in its third series, and there­fore the protagonist Paul Spector is well known to the audience as a violent and misogynistic serial killer - a character with whom few, if anyone, would identify," she said.

"The scenes are in keeping with previous episodes and the overall narrative of the series. In accordance with editorial guide­lines, it transmitted in a post-wa­tershed BBC Two slot and there was a warning prior to broadcast that the drama contains strong and violent scenes that some viewers may find upsetting.

"Pro­duction rigorously followed and complied with BBC editorial poli­cy guidelines throughout."

In September, series creator Allan Cubitt faced accusations that The Fall glamorised violence against women.

One critic described the depiction of male violence as "an invitation to share an extended rape fantasy".

Mr Cubitt called the opinion "absurd" and said he was "very upset" at being labelled a misogynist.

"It was something I had to talk to my daughter about, who has counselled me very well," he said.

"I can't say I've never made any errors or couldn't have done something better or something different, but I know myself and I know these guys and I know what we're all about and that's just an absurd comment."

Holywood-born Jamie Dornan (34), has spoken of his challenges portraying the psychotic Spector.

"Over the last four years, I have found ways of locking myself into Spector's psyche quickly without too much build-up," he said. "But when I can, I jump out of his skin, because I don't think it's appropriate to stay in it for longer than I have to."

In last night's episode, DSI Gibson is hospitalised after the horrific attack, but shows a steely resolve not to be intimidated.

American-born Gillian Anderson has said of her character: "Gibson is a great role model.

"She answers to no-one and is uncompromising.

"There are lots of aspects of her that aren't like me which it would be fun and interesting to adopt.

"I wish I was her."

Belfast Telegraph

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