Sometimes I get angry watching old BBC dramas on Netflix

Sometimes I think it’s like a tap, not tightly enough wound, dripping in the next room. Sometimes you notice it, sometimes you don’t, but you know it’s still dripping because no-one has turned it. Sometimes it makes you really mad, but still you wait for someone else to turn it. 

But that’s a ridiculous analogy. It’s not like a dripping tap. It’s more aggressive. Louder. It takes more than one person to stop it. 

Last night I was catching up on the BBC drama Luther which is now available on Netflix , but first aired on the BBC around nine years ago. I was aware of a creeping sense of rage crawling inside my skin, travelling through my veins until my heart was pounding. A creepy looking man enters the house of a mother alone with her child. He sticks his tongue out lasciviously, begins to lick her face. She urinates in terror. He threatens to kill her child along with her unless she leaves with him. He ties her up and locks her in a box.

Last week, two fourteen year old boys were found guilty of murdering Ana Kriegel. She had also been violently and sexually assaulted. One of the boys had tens of thousands of pornographic images on his phone. We entered into collective media discussions about the danger of porn, and the ease with which it can be accessed by young people today. But Luther is broadcast on the BBC at 9 o’clock at night. It’s easily accessible to anyone with a Netflix account. It’s not porn. But it uses the torture of women for entertainment purposes. And we all watch. And we love Idris Elba, our hero, who smashes doors and windows and walls when his wife tells him she doesn’t love him anymore. 

The trouble is when you react in this way to a BBC drama, people think you’re being melodramatic. They roll their eyes and tell you not to overreact, it’s just a TV show. But sometimes that drippy tap sounds like a fucking waterfall, and you just want to scream to make yourself heard above it. 

It’s not just Luther, of course. 

It’s Ana Kriegel. 

It’s Valerie French Kilroy whose body was found at her home in Mayo on Friday June 14th, and whose husband has been charged with her murder. The killing of Valerie received relatively little media attention, because the country was occupied with the trial of two fourteen year old boys having murdered a schoolgirl. 

It’s people defending a potential Prime Minister whose partner during a row feels the need to scream at him ‘get off me.’ 

It’s overhearing a young waiter in a prominent city centre cafe loudly rating women out of ten, whilst supposedly doing his job of serving the public.

It’s people saying Paddy Jackson has paid his debt, and anyway he was never found guilty of anything, and those WhatsApp messages,  they’re just banter. 

It’s a President who responds to accusations of rape by saying his accuser is not his type anyway. 

It’s all those things, piling on top of one another, over and over, that make you feel angry sitting on the couch watching Luther on Netflix. 


3 thoughts on “Sometimes I get angry watching old BBC dramas on Netflix

  1. Yep … it isn’t going unnoticed but that doesn’t mean anything is changing …
    Who was it who wrote (decades back, possibly Faludi in Backlash but I’m not 100% sure) about the role of media in both creating fiction where women are unerringly victims, compounding their approach to real life crime reporting. IIRC her conclusions were about the agenda of keeping women fearful. I think she has a point, but I also think that you are correct that things have moved on (negatively and that there are additional concerns to those she raised).
    Thanks for the post. I feel your anger.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear you – my mom used to say “garbage in, garbage out.” As for the president – sadly he’s not the first of our presidents in the last 20-some years to be accused of this. The other one walked away free and then his wife ran for president and said she was for women. Not for the ones her husband raped I guess. It’s a sad world we live in.


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