Belfast Telegraph

The Fall: Actress slates critics who say BBC crime drama degrades women

By Joanne Fleming

Critics who think violent BBC crime drama The Fall degrades women are missing the point, one of its female stars has said.

Niamh McGrady has backed the Belfast-filmed show's lead star Gillian Anderson, after critics accused it of being misogynistic and glamourising violence against women.

The mini-series, shot entirely in Northern Ireland, was BBC2's biggest drama launch in eight years when it first aired in May 2013. But the dark drama, which co-stars Co Down heartthrob Jamie Dornan as a serial killer targeting women, has been described as an "extended rape fantasy" by a leading criminologist.

Professor David Wilson of Birmingham City University said the programme was "brutal misogyny turned into entertainment" and accused programme makers of glamourising "extreme, even lethal, violence against women".

But Niamh, who plays police officer Danielle Ferrington, said: "The Daily Mail criticised The Fall for featuring violence towards women; I think they massively missed the point. There's a strong female cast, strong female characters. It's about Paul Spector's obsession with women, not glorifying violence." The Co Down actress, a familiar face in Holby City, points to the example of the strong female role embodied by star of the show Anderson.

In the first series the pair bond as PSNI officer Danielle shares her guilt over failing to protect a woman from killer Paul Spector and later reveals she is gay.

"In the male-dominated world of the police force, to suddenly have a female figure arrive and single her out as useful, special, needed in some way, is a big deal for her," Niamh told the Sunday Times Culture magazine.

Earlier this month Anderson, who plays Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, said that any reference to the violence as glamorous was "so far removed from what was intended".

"It's not a fashion magazine shoot type thing. It is what turns him on," she said.

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