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Conviction
A Red Production for BBC3 2004
Episode 1
TX : 7th November 2004
Director : Marc Munden
Script : Bill Gallagher

Cast : Natalie Willis (Chelsee Healey); Barry Kearsley (Jonathan Howard); Freda Hannaford (Pamela Cheshire); Derek Hannaford (Simon Kirk); Ronnie Best (Julian Walsh); Ronnie Best Jr (Joshua Thurston).

Publicity : Bill Gallagher's cop drama initially looks like a standard whodunit - a murder squad investigate the frenzied stabbing of a 12-year old girl - tarted up with trendy BBC3 trappings; arty close-ups, jump-cuts and the fact that almost everyone is a hard-drinking maverick. But after a glib start, a much darker tone takes over when it becomes clear that Joe (Ian Puleston-Davies), who's haunted by a previous case where he let a paedophile slip through his fingers, is more than just a loose cannon. A strong cast includes Sharon Duce and, David Warner and Reece Dinsdale) as an extraordinarily laid-back detective who talks in elliptical epigrams). It's all rather overcooked, with the gore and corruption heavily ladled on - but it's a good job episode two follows on straight away at 10pm, as you'll be dying to know what happens next. (Radio Times article by Jack Seale).

Synopsis :
Provocative, complex and darkly humorous story of a police
murder investigation. Convinced that known paedophile Jason Buleigh is responsible for the murder of a 12-year old girl, officers take the law into their own hands.

Notes :
Jason Done and William Ash both played the role of Stephen Snow in Where The Heart Is.

Reece Dinsdale is probably best remembered for playing Matthew Willows in Home to Roost.

Alan Rothwell is famous to a whole generation of thirty-somethings as he was the presenter of BBC School show Picture Box in the late 1970s and 1980s.

David Warner has been acting for over four decades, and has made numerous appearances in a variety of British series, as well as playing dozens of roles in American television series and films.

Also in 2004, actor Jason Watkins played the role of Stephen Downing in In Denial of Murder - a dramatised account of the real-life case of a man who was wrongly convicted of the murder of a young woman.

Writer Bill Gallagher previously wrote for Dalziel and Pascoe, Casualty, Hero of the Hour, Clocking Off and Soldier Soldier.

Composer Ben Bartlett provided the soundtrack for the popular BBC natural history series Walking with Dinosuars, The Ballad of Big Al and Walking with Beasts.

Conviction was produced by Red - the company responsible for other well-known series such as Bob and Rose, Mine All Mine, Casanova, Flesh and Blood and The Second Coming.


Episode 2
TX : 7th November 2004
Director : Marc Munden
Script : Bill Gallagher

Cast : Mick Barker (Steve Money); Vincent Teale (Shahid Ahmed); Davey
Warburton Vincent Davies); Matt Caffrey (Declan Wilson); Craig Prentice (Tony Pitts).

Synopsis :
Joe and Chrissie start to face the consequences of their actions in the woods, especially when their supposed prime suspect is shown to have been innocent of the murder of young Angela Fairley.

Episode 3
TX : 14th November 2004
Director : Marc Munden
Script : Bill Gallagher

Cast : Sirvannadha (Will Hastings); Hayley Bryant (Jessica Harris); Sammy Priestner (Jordan Murphy); Darrell Milland (Reece Noi).

Synopsis :
As the police close in on Angela's killers, the investigation is turned on its head as Chrissie finds a witness from the night that Jason Buleigh went missing. Joe must got to extreme lengths in an attempt to cover the tracks of those involved.


Episode 4
TX : 14th November 2004
Director : David Richards
Script : Bill Gallagher


Cast : Gail Cleary (Siobhan Finneran); Malcolm Waters (Charles Dale); Terry Waters (Iain McKee); Karen Hayes (Clare Kerrigan).

Synopsis :
A dramatic turn of events sees Chrissie and Joe hailed as heroes - but still feeling haunted by feelings of guilt.

Notes : Siobhan Finneran was one of the leads in 1980s British comedy flick
Rita, Sue and Bob Too.

Director David Richards is regularly behind the camera on crime series, and has worked on In Denial of Murder, Messiah 2, Alibi, Hero of the Hour, Reckless and Police 2020.

Charles Dale is probably most famous for his roles in Coronation Street and The Lakes, and in 2004 also appeared in Steel River Blues.

Episode 5
TX : 21st November 2004
Director : David Richards
Script : Bill Gallagher


Cast : Traffic cop (Alan Stocks); Neil Harding (Chris Walker); Donna Harding (Alison Swann).

Synopsis :
Joe and Chrissie's relationship is close to breaking point as new evidence emerges from the woods. Ray meanwhile, finally confronts his family's dark secrets.

Episode 6
TX : 21st November 2004
Director : David Richards
Script : Bill Gallagher


Cast : Justine Brown (Emily Aston); Painter (Stuart Wolfenden).

Synopsis :
The police close in on Jason Buleigh's killers, while Joe's attempts at a cover-up attract unwanted attention.

Notes : Emily Aston played Young Jess in Oranges are Not The Only Fruit.


Characters
Portrayed By
Chrissie Fairburn
William Ash
Joe Payne
Ian Puleston-Davies
Robert Seymour
Reece Dinsdale
Lucy Romanis
Laura Fraser
Ray Fairburn
Nicholas Gleaves
Beth Caffrey
Zöe Henry
Lenny Fairburn
David Warner
Sol Draper
Jason Done
Jason Buleigh
Jason Watkins
Sandra Buleigh
Sharon Duce
Jemma Ryan
Angela Coulby
Miriam Payne
Lindsey Cocker
Polly Caffrey
Dominique Jackson (1-3, 6)
Angela Fairburn
Georgia May Foote (1-3)
Sian Fairburn
Suzanne Hall (1-3)
Judy Fairley
Jennifer Hennessy (1-2)
Mr Lindon
Alan Rothwell (2-3)
Tom Tiernan
Steve Evetts (3, 5)
Carl Waters
Matthew Dunster (4-5)

The series was written by Bill Gallagher and produced by Ann Harrison-Baxter. The series was executive produced by Gareth Neame and Nicola Shindler.


William Ash as Chrissie.

During 2004 BBC3 produced two very good drama series of particular note: one was the gritty medical series Bodies and the other was Bill
Gallagher's Conviction
. Shown in fifty-minute double-bills on Sunday nights, the Red Production dealt with the gruesome and bloody murder of a paedophile who was suspected of killing a young girl. The twist being that he never murdered the girl and was killed by a serving police officer who was investigating the case.



Ian Puleston-Davies as Joe.


An impressive cast is headed by actor and sometime screenwriter Ian
Puleston-Davies
as the tortured Joe, with William Ash playing his colleague and co-conspirator Chrissie. Joe is distressed from the moment that Jason Buleigh is murdered and struggles to keep up the pretence of investigating the very case that he is responsible for
causing right through the course of the story, at the same time as hiding what he has done from his family. Puleston gives it his all as a man on the edge who has to keep up appearances for the benefit of everybody around him. Ash is good too, with Chrissie being torn in umpteen directions and having to deal first-hand with his father's illness .


Reece Dinsdale as Robert.

Of the rest of the cast the standout performances come from David Warner as the father of Chrissie, Ray and Beth. Warner is excellent as an elderly man who is slowly succumbing to mind-crippling dementia, and the role gives him the chance to act without the layers of latex that he was often encased beneath during his 1990s Hollywood exile. Reece Dinsdale plays of the police officers here too, and his character is presented as an ethereal and mysterious, zen-like figure. Of particular note in the series though is the excellent Jason Watkins who plays the victim of Joe's crime. Despite being dead Buleigh keeps popping up throughout the tale to torment to agonised Joe. Sharon Duce plays the determined mother of Buleigh and is relentless in her pursuit of the truth.


David warner as Lennyt.

Despite sagging slightly in the middle episodes, which feature a side-step concerning some of the main characters being held hostage by a dangerous gunman, the series is high on tension and gripping
throughout. The murder of Buleigh is particularly violent and graphic, and is repeated a number of times over the course of the story as Joe replays it in his mind. Towards the end of the story there is a shocking turn of events that has an even more devastating impact on Joe - more so even than killing a man.


Nicholas Gleaves as Ray.

As yet the series has not been broadcast on terrestrial television, unlike Bodies, but it really deserves to be seen by a wider audience.
Things are left open at the conclusion of this story for potential future stories featuring most of the main cast. The series has been released on DVD.


Laura Fraser as Lucy.

Text © Chris Orton, 2005.