Document 1622

TV critic review column on The Moors Murderers

Author(s): Paul English

Copyright holder(s): Derek Stewart-Brown: on behalf of The Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd


Hindley tale too true for drama treatment: See No Evil: The Moors Murderers, ITV, Sunday/Monday

A PAL of mine had no idea who Myra Hindley was until Sunday night.

A 30-year-old pal. More than that. A 30-year-old pal with a decent degree from a good university who reads the posh papers and lives in the same world as the rest of us.

Before I heard this, I was in two minds about ITV's decision to dramatise a story so barbaric.

But then I remembered something Ken Stott once said in an interview about his decision to play Hitler.

Ken reckoned that we need to try to understand the Fuhrer to stop what he did from happening again.

Fair point. But not one that the likes of Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot or Slobodan Milosevic had much sympathy with, mind.

Playing one of the most despised women in history, Shameless star Maxine Peake defended the decision to turn The Moors Murders into a three-hour drama by saying it was in the public interest.

We needed to know about the loss of innocence as a nation, she said. We needed to know about how it changed the face of policing 40 years ago, and instilled in us a fear for children's safety.

Maybe. But try asking the parents of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, or the eternally-mourning mothers of Dunblane, what they got out of this two-parter.

The bald truth is that the decision to turn the bloodlust of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady into a film was doubtless made around the same boardroom tables over which Dancing On Ice viewing figures are more commonly discussed.

Seeing The Moors Murderers on the same level as, say, Trial and Retribution - as a piece of entertainment, designed to thrill, scare, and tease - is like comparing the acts of Doctor Shipman to an episode of Doctor Who.

From the critics' point of view, it's a big ask.

Even if Peake's interpretation of a sympathetically-portrayed Hindley was believable' even if the dramatic focus shifting onto the impact on Hindley's sister made watching feel less sordid, one fact remains. It's impossible to enjoy a story about adults sexually abusing and killing children, no matter how well made it is.

I have one gripe from a stylistic point of view.

Sean Harris might have filled psychopath Brady's shoes convincingly, but his Scottish accent was off the scale.

I'm sure I even heard him refer to a loch as a "lock" at one point.

Still, it highlighted one fact often lost in time - Brady is Scottish. In fact, he went to the school round the corner from my flat in Glasgow.

I'm not sure my 30-year old pal knows that either - Ian Brady is a real man who once walked the same streets as she does.

It would make for great drama - if it weren't quite so true.

This work is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

The SCOTS Project and the University of Glasgow do not necessarily endorse, support or recommend the views expressed in this document.


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TV critic review column on The Moors Murderers. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 21 May 2024, from

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"TV critic review column on The Moors Murderers." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 21 May 2024.

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 1622

TV critic review column on The Moors Murderers


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2006
Word count 498
General description Newspaper TV review

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Daily Record
Publication year 2006
Place of publication Glasgow
Part of larger text
Contained in Daily Record 18/05/06
Page numbers 25

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 1165
Forenames Paul
Surname English
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1970
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Catholicism
Occupation Journalist, Daily Record Features Writer
Place of birth Paisley
Region of birth Renfrew
Birthplace CSD dialect area Renfr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Social club manager
Father's place of birth Port Glasgow
Father's region of birth Glasgow
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation School meals auxiliary
Mother's place of birth Port Glasgow
Mother's region of birth Glasgow
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Work / home etc