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BBC's John Christie drama Rillington Place hampered by sound problems

Published 30/11/2016

Tim Roth plays the lead role as notorious serial killer John Christie
Tim Roth plays the lead role as notorious serial killer John Christie

Viewers of the opening episode of Rillington Place were left frustrated after struggling to make out the dialogue in the BBC's latest drama.

The three-part series dramatises the crimes of John Christie, one of Britain's most notorious serial killers, who murdered at least eight women, including his wife, during the 1940s and early 1950s, in his flat at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London.

Tim Roth, who plays Christie, was lauded for his performance but viewers complained of having to use subtitles because of "whispering" and "murmuring".

Jane Keaton posted on Twitter: "Tim Roth brilliant as always.Trouble is can't hear all the dialogue. Hope my neighbours are watching. Volume turned to 11."

Another user, @J_onathan, said: "Subtitles on, the ONLY way to go with all this murmuring! #rillingtonplace."

Ian Reynolds wrote: "Had to resort to subtitles on #rillingtonplace @BBCOne the sound quality was so dire."

David White posted: "#rillingtonplace - tense, atmospheric, brilliantly acted. It was useful to have the subtitles on to catch all the dialogue though."

However some users pointed out that Christie had been gassed during World War One and therefore had a low, whispering voice.

Kate Prewett wrote: "Those moaning about #timroth whispering, .it's perfect character acting. Christie got gassed and had damaged lungs."

The comments come after BBC dramas Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire, and Jamaica Inn were also plagued by sound problems.

The BBC's Charlotte Moore has previously pledged to tackle problems with sound on the corporation's shows.

"It is incredibly hard to get to the bottom of where things go wrong. It's often several circumstances and it's quite hard to isolate if there is one particular problem," the director of content said.

"It is often several different problems coming together. Sound is a very exact science."

BBC1 drama Jamaica Inn sparked more than 2,000 complaints about inaudible dialogue.

BBC director-general Tony Hall recently vowed to look into the sound problems experienced by viewers of Happy Valley after the second series of the BBC One show sparked hundreds of complaints from viewers over the "shocking" sound quality.

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