‘Southcliffe’: Episode 4 review

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As with the previous three parts, scenes are gratingly slow, danger creeping up on you like a weed but never quite paying off. A lot of history is implied – the relationship between Andrew, David and shooter Steven, for example – and here Southcliffe tends to fall down. The show is over but everything still feels a bit unfinished.

Another case in point is David’s relationship with his wife Jacqui. They clearly aren’t in a good place, and the fact that the root cause was David’s job was thrown in our faces with ham-fisted, Steven Seagal-esque dialogue such as ‘This is who I am. You knew what you signed up for’ which was a tad jarring.

Much like Broadchurch, this programme was not only about the murders themselves, but the devastating ripple effect they had on the loved ones left behind.

Nowhere was this more apparent than with the Salter family, dealing with the loss of their daughter Anna. Shirley Henderson’s girlish portrayal of Claire peaked during the scene on the field where she collapses, weeping; no, howling, into her husband’s arms. Grief has been portrayed plenty of times on screen, but rarely as powerful as this. This was raw, open grief, presenting us with the very real fact that no one can ever really get over the loss of a child, particularly in such grim circumstances.

Southcliffe was a moving piece of macabre drama that had the appearance of losing its way, but when it wanted to hit home, it hit home hard. The end scenes will stay with you long after the credits roll.

Aired at 9pm on Sunday 18 August 2013 on Channel 4.

> Buy Southcliffe on DVD on Amazon.

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