The Witness for the Prosecution

Without wishing to recreate the “festive TV vigil” that was Christmas at my parents’, I do like to watch something good on television over the break. Preferably on BBC; I appreciate that ad breaks are useful for refilling the wine glass or buttering a few more biscuits and slicing a bit more cheese, but they disrupt the flow – and at this point I really don’t need anything more to eat or drink.

I got my wish last night with The Witness for the Prosecution. Atmospheric, brilliantly shot, carefully designed and well acted. Gloom (literal and metaphorical) everywhere, apart from Romaine’s red hat and Mrs French’s home – you can almost taste the cigarette smoke and air pollution. (The latter reminded me both of my parents’ descriptions of the London of their youth and of recent photographs of Chinese cities under smog.) The characters are still smothered by the pall of the recent war, and the meanness and dreariness of their surroundings echo that.

I am hooked.

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