performances are genuine, they do feel real despite their fame and fortune. The series, penned by Jeff Pope and directed by Paul
Andrew Williams, strips away the usual mystery drama sensationalism to achieve a raw, grey, natural depiction of the events surrounding O'Callaghan and DI Steve Fulcher.
A measured Martin Freeman plays Detective Steve Fulcher
Sian O’Callaghan case was more than a tragic murder – it called into question
many ethical laws installed in the police system. Fulcher - played in
the series by a measured Freeman - led the investigation and found the murderer Christopher
Halliwell, but decided to break procedure and questioned Halliwell by himself.
Doing this led to a full confession that led to discovering O’Callaghan’s body
as well as the long-buried Becky Godden, who disappeared nearly a decade
before. But Fulcher, despite these revelations, was forced to resign for breaking the
first episode of A Confession hints at Fulcher’s distaste for the
system, often doing things his own way and sometimes confusing the officers under him. But
he’s not the clichéd drunken rebel detective, which has strayed too long in the genre. He’s not melodramatic, he doesn’t scream or cry at awful news. He simply swallows the information and moves on, no matter how upsetting it is.
The controversy of the Sian O'Callaghan case forced Fulcher to resign
direction is key to this naturalistic approach. His camera watches closely, loves a good zoom, and it's mostly held
by hand – catching scenes as if by accident. The
documentary style offers an inescapable view, seen immediately as Fulcher
meets with his police friend Ray (Cold Feet actor John Thomson) about the latter’s sexual harassment charges.
Williams ensures that we’re a part of that uncomfortable conversation.
Karen Godden – portrayed with loving, parental delicacy by Staunton – nearly cries
about her then-missing daughter’s birthday, heavy music doesn't rise. When she
confidently proclaims that her daughter ‘will be home this year’, the tragedy stands
bare – blunt, unsentimental – without exaggerated close-ups predicting
her traumatic future. This only enhances the dread - we know her confidence will soon be shattered, the
inevitable bad news hanging over the series like a violent shadow.
Becky Godden is played with loving, parental delicacy by Imelda Staunton
The desired realism is torn slightly by the casting of Freeman, Staunton, and even Charlie
Cooper (This Country), since they all made their names with famously eccentric characters. But it’s easy to adjust to their staidness, their comic talents
appropriately left behind (though Freeman enjoys one hilarious moment involving
pizza and football).
Reality is impossible to show, even in documentaries, but A
Confession pushes close to what really happened – even the famous faces
blur into regular ones. And given what’s to come, that realism will only grow
A Confession airs on Monday 2nd September at 9pm on ITV.
|What||A Confession, ITV review|
02 Sep 19 – 02 Sep 20, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM