The Fall: 'Misogyny turned into entertainment'... BBC crime thriller starring Jamie Dornan is slammed by professor
It is no stranger to controversy, but now a leading criminologist has raised fresh concerns over the content of acclaimed crime drama The Fall.
David Wilson, a professor of criminology at the Birmingham City University, has described the hit BBC2 series as an "extended rape fantasy".
He has accused programme makers of glamorising "extreme, even lethal, violence against women".
Writing in a daily newspaper, Prof Wilson said the programme was "brutal misogyny turned into entertainment" and "murderous cruelty elevated into pleasurable viewing".
The second series of The Fall, which centres on a police investigation into a serial killer who targets young professional women in Belfast, has drawn in more than 2m viewers each week.
Starring local actor Jamie Dornan as serial killer Paul Spector and former X-Files star Gillian Anderson as Detective Stella Gibson, the first series of The Fall achieved BBC2's highest ratings for almost a decade.
However, Prof Wilson warned that the programme "panders to the darkest male fantasies".
"It is no exaggeration to describe The Fall as extended rape fantasy", he added. Prof Wilson said that the programme's "bleak message" was that "women want to be objectified, humiliated and beaten".
He unfavourably compared The Fall with another popular BBC crime drama, The Missing, starring James Nesbitt.
"The Missing is rooted in reality, whereas The Fall looks increasingly like a grotesque comic strip," he said.
Responding to Prof Wilson's criticism, the BBC said that The Fall was an established, critically acclaimed drama series.
"Editorial policy guidelines were followed to deliver a suitable post-watershed show," a BBC spokeswoman added. The Fall's creator Allan Cubitt has previously hit back at critics who described his psychological thriller as misogynistic.
He said the programme "sets out to explore a complex and difficult subject".
"My feeling is that people who think that about it probably haven't given it the closest reading. It might be a knee-jerk reaction to something that depicts violence against women," Mr Cubitt has said.
The writer also said the ethos of the show was an attempt to "take on a rather difficult subject of why men turn so readily to violence, and why we see so many examples of violence against women perpetrated by men".