Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed another crime drama set in a far-flung part of the UK, Shetland. Tina reviewed a British TV show with an unusual premise, The Syndicate. Sim shared photos of pretty painted townhouses from her trip, near the Grenfell apartments that tragically burned last week. Becky reviewed a funny and delightful picture book, Matilda’s Cat.
The Fall is a British crime drama set in Northern Ireland. I learned so much watching this series about that little corner of the UK, one that’s been making news recently.
Since Theresa May’s Conservative party lost their majority in the House of Commons, they are counting on the ten seats won by the tiny Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP is a Northern Ireland party founded by a Protestant fundamentalist in the 1970s, during the Troubles.
The free-flowing border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland comes up in every serious article about Brexit. That border functions like all EU borders now and seems to work reasonably well for people living on the island, but what happens if the UK is no longer a part of the EU?
The Troubles and the pedophile priest scandal continue to loom large in the memory of those living in Northern Ireland. That history is recent enough that I worry about these new stressful disruptions for the people living there.
The Fall was shown as three series, originally broadcast in the spring of 2013, the fall of 2014, and the fall of 2015. I’m very glad that I could binge-watch it all at once on Netflix. Most crime dramas solve a crime in an hour. Some more recent shows like Broadchurch and The Tunnel use a mini-series to tell one long crime story. The Fall covers one crime and its investigation through all three seasons–just when you think it’s over, we go even deeper.
In the world of the story, the action takes place over just a few months. That leads to one odd thing that viewers have to forgive — a child actor visibly grows a couple of years from the first to the last.
Although The Fall fits in the genre of crime drama, it uses some story-telling techniques that make it unusually creepy. In fact, I think “horror” might also be a helpful descriptor. I can tell you from experience that it’s better not to watch this show late at night if you struggle with insomnia. That goes triple if you live alone. The Fall should also come with a trigger warning for sexual assault.
In doing a bit of research for this post, I learned that athletes in Northern Ireland can choose to play for either Great Britain or Ireland. For me, that really illustrates how complicated the relationships are between Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It’s not as simple as I thought.