Tuesday 5 October 2010

DCI Banks - review of Aftermath, part 2

DCI Banks Aftermath concluded last night and having had a look at other reviews, I’m a bit worried that I seem to be in something of a minority in having enjoyed the opener for this new series starring Stephen Tompkinson as Banks and Andrea Lowe as Annie Cabot. But despite widespread reservations about the portrayal of Banks as a bit of a wimp, I found the second and concluding episode fairly entertaining and a bit different from many TV cop shows.

However, there was a heavily melodramatic element to the material and its presentation, and here perhaps there were too many concessions in the script to the perceived requirements of a TV audience. I’ve read many of the Banks books, but not Aftermath, so I can’t comment with authority, but even so I’m confident the novel is a good deal subtler than the screenplay.

Of course, it is in the nature of TV adaptations that they lose something of the flavour of the original. If the writer is lucky – think Colin Dexter – they add a lot, too. But Liza Cody, Tim Heald and Marjorie Eccles are among those who arguably were not well served when their books made the transition to the small screen. And even Reg Hill had to endure Hale and Pace as the original Dalziel and Pascoe, before his work moved to the BBC.

John Harvey, in a rather scathing assessment of the first episode of Aftermath, mentioned that Tompkinson was once briefly considered for the role of Charlie Resnick. It’s also the case that he was mooted for a TV version of Harry Devlin, and a script of All the Lonely People was written by one of the scriptwriters for Taggart. Alas, it never got made. Would I have minded liberties being taken with my masterpiece? Believe me, I could have coped!!


Anonymous said...

Martin - I had to laugh at the last line of your post. I think most crime fiction authors feel that way! It is always such a difficult transition to make from novels to television, and it's often not done well. As you say, the Inspector Morse series was quite successful, I think. I would like to see how Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope stories do on the small screen; where I live, they are not available, but I am hoping they've been done well.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Margot!!
All the signs are that Vera will be a big success.

Juxtabook said...

Thank you again for flagging this series up. I would not have watched it without your review and though there was a lot wrong with it (the series, not your review)I am glad I did. Tompkinson's Banks was less of wimp and less uncontrolled and angry in part two. I thought his desire that the Lucy character should see her guilt at the end was brilliantly done. And talking of Lucy, Charlotte Riley was fabulous playing such a difficult role.

I hope you get the chance to pleased or vexed by an adaptation soon too!