6 comments on “Review – Manhunt Part 4

  1. Pingback: Review – Manhunt Part 3 « Lady Don't Fall Backwards

  2. A fabulous essay- my husband bought the DVD and we took it away with us on our ‘British cottage holiday’, knowing the weather was likely to be erratic, and we became obsessed! I agree with everything you’ve said, especially in relation to characterisation; I too found it difficult to sympathise with Nina, and wondered if the scriptwriters were unsure what to do with the character. I disliked her flakiness, the fact she buckled easily at times then was the cold killer at others, and wondered exactly what she had that made everyone so overwhelmed by her (although my husband seemed similarly bowled over by her appearance!). I also felt Adelaide was a great character, and loved the way she shone increasingly as the series progressed- she would’ve been my ‘role model’ character had I watched this as a teenager. And Peter Barkworth- a revelation. I waited until I’d watched all the episodes before reading all 4 parts of your essay together, and found myself exclaiming ‘yes, that’s exactly what I thought!’ all the way through! Thank you for such a well written, enlightening piece- lots of what you have said will stay with me for a long time and I will be sure to read it over and over again’

  3. Oh, bless your heart. Thank you very much – and thank you also to your husband, who sent me some kind words earlier this afternoon. I’m so pleased – comments like this make the whole blogging / reviewing thing worthwhile. If I managed to get my enthusiasm over – and if it helped to steer you in the direction of something I really loved and wanted to share – then I’m chuffed.

    It gets under your skin, doesn’t it? I called it the single greatest drama series ITV have ever produced, and I definitely don’t see any reason to change my mind now.

    Thanks again for commenting. Anyone who loves Peter Barkworth is a friend of mine.

  4. a). I’ve just finished ‘Manhunt’ – bought after some recalling some vague early childhood memories and then reading the first few lines of your review/guide on ‘Adventures in Primetime’.

    I’ve been watching it in healthy chunks and then reading your review on your this website – brilliant stuff, both.

    I’m just bereft now! I looked forward to reading your review as much the episodes themselves – just to confirm or deny what I’d been thinking!

    b. I was vaguely aware of Manhunt as a child – but the episode I watched must have been a long drawn out philosphical effort and I probably didn’t give it a second thought. (Facebook message)

    Have to agree with you that it’s (possibly) ITV’s greatest drama series – some of its ideas concerning the conduct and actions of all parties concerned must have touched many raw nerves – the British buggering up what seemed like perfectly good Resistance logistics and organisation, and Zander’s articulation of not wanting to be regarded as a murderer if Germany lost the war must have made for some pretty uncomfortable viewing for what was a massively popular series.

    Besides being the best (British) drama I’ve seen in years, as you say, it’s an actor spotter’s paradise. I’ve been boring everyone rigid with “There’s Arthur White from ‘Crossroads'”/”Christian Rodska from ‘Follyfoot'” and I got your excellent Ian McCulloch/zombie reference! I love that film.

    We watched a good few episodes whilst hidden away late at night in a Welsh country cottage and we had a few bets about which ‘stalwart’ would appear next. Unbelievably, my prediction that George Innes would make an appearance bore fruit within about five minutes! Must get a life!

    Like you, we were non-plussed by Nina’s release from captivity in one of the earlier episodes, and though on a few occasions the phrase “She’s got a look of Nerys Hughes about her’, we were shocked by the apperance of her name in the credits. I’ve deleted the Half Man Half Biscuit track from my iPod in her honour.

    As for Blakey the rapist – very shocked!

    Like I say, brilliant stuff and many thanks for guiding me in the right direction. (Facebook message)

    c. The List – 20 ‘Manhunt’ Things! (After a few days of deliberation – and still a bit random)

    1. Alfred Lynch’s character is ‘Jimmy Brooks’, and not ‘Jimmy Porter’ as stated on the DVD box and Wikipedia – this cancels out the meta-references to ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’!
    2. I veered between ‘that’s amazing acting’ to ”that’s a bit embarrassing’ with regard to Robert Hardy’s performances in the series. An astonishing ‘turn’, nevertheless.
    3. George Sewell – not a massive acting range – but just excellent in everything.
    4. Astonishing writing for 90%+ of the entire series – too many names to mention, but Vincent Tilsley’s two/three handers were just fantastic.
    5. Peter Barkworth was my favourite throughout, but (for me) Philip Madoc’s performances in the ‘Little Man, What Next?’ stole the show. I don’t think he was given enough to do before this. A brilliant illustration of ‘less is more’. His speech to Vincent concerning the Gestapo’s ‘management’ of occupied France and their apparent collusion in the escape routes of Allied personnel in ‘The Death-Wish’ was a master work of writing and brilliant performance.
    6. Had Quentin Tarantin seen this when he wrote ‘Inglorious Bastards? The events that take place before the shoot-out in the basement of the French inn are very similar to events in ‘The Train May Be Late’.
    7. Why did Roy Clarke end up writing crap like ‘The Last of the Summer Wine’? His ‘Only the Dead Survive’ is quite superb.
    8. Maggie Fitzgibbon – just brilliant. As Walter points out, Adelaide isone of the best-written characters in TV drama.
    9. ‘Intent to Steal’ – the ‘silent’ episode – whose idea? So clever and miles before its time. Just a pity that I kept thinking about Eric Sykes’s ‘The Plank’ at inappropriate moments.
    10. Cyd Hayman – just beautiful. Why did she disappear from our screens? She was a more than competent actor and (I thought) did extremely well with (what I thought) to be the occasional misogynist writing of her character.
    11. Alfred Lynch – I’m not sure if the writers had worked out his character arc with the precision required. He has many fine moments, but his factory espionage story is far-fetched to say the least, and he all but disappears until the last two episodes. His return to factory work (after the factory has all but been destroyed) is one of the weakest off-screen happenings.
    12. I must stop getting Julian Glover and Christopher Neame mixed up. Not to self: must start wearing glasses whilst watching TV.
    13. Brian Cant as a Nazi!
    14. Nice to see so many actors who were later typecast/pigeonholed given their chance of a day in the sun – particular mentions for Reginald Marsh (here, an important, charismatic organiser of the Resistance – later the pompous boss in The Good Life and Terry and June), Nerys Hughes (as mentioned before) and the (occasionally) great John Savident.
    15. I loved the futile almost nihilistic ending – it was as if Alfred Lynch was seeing the rest of his life and career as he give us his last great, baleful expression of life’s tragedy. Existentialism writ large if ever I saw it.
    16. Nice to see Geoffrey Whitehead is still making a career on TV, although the last thing I saw him in was CBBC’s ‘Bear Behaving Badly’ – a far cry from Spiegel, his cadaverous Nazi creation.
    17. My ‘Gratz’ impression sounds too much like Roy Hodgson – there’s a brilliant bit where Robert Hardy turns into the Fast Show’s ‘Ron Manager’ when he’s being interrogated by Lutzig.
    18. The ‘Captain Mainwaring’ nomenclature given to Ian McCulloch (did he shout ‘Spare Us the Cutter’ when Nina went at him with the bread knife?) was a bizarre creative decision to say the least. I kept expecting Talfryn Thomas to be hiding behind the cutain.
    19.We took Manhunt, Space 1999 (more Cyd Hayman!) and the brilliant Breaking Bad (Season 3) as our box sets for the dark hours of our countryside retreat. Manhunt was always the unanimous viewing of choice.
    20. When Gratz takes off Vincent’s gloves and sees what the Gestapo has done to his fingernails…just heart-stopping, heart-breaking TV. A Shakespearian parallel lives’ theme that reminded me of the brilliant Steptoe episode ‘The Desperate Hours’.

    Apologies for all of the superlatives, but watching Manhunt was like discovering an unearthed gem. I’m definitely going with Walter’s suggestion of ‘Public Eye’ as my next box set!

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