Sunday, 25 September 2016

British TV Serials Worth Watching: 8. Quirke

My final entry in this British TV serials review series (for now) is not available on Netflix. It’s a three-episode (90 minutes each) semi-serial called Quirke. Written by Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson, based on novels by John Banville, Quirke stars Gabriel Byrne as Quirke, the chief pathologist in 1950’s Dublin whose investigations lead him to some very strange and dark places. Michael Gambon plays Quirke’s adopted father, Nick Dunning stars as Quirke’s brother and Aisling Franciosi plays Quirke’s niece. 

Quirke is a largely forgotten show which drew little attention when it was broadcast in late 2013 and doesn’t get much acclaim. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Among its many positive attributes are the wonderfully atmospheric cinematography and locations, the noir feel, the fantastic acting (especially by Byrne, who is perfectly cast), the intelligent screenplays which are much more about character development than they are about the mysteries being solved, and the way the show touches on a variety of issues  in 1950’s Dublin, especially the power of the church.

Quirke is a dark show with a dark protagonist (Quirke is a melancholic alcoholic). Its plots are slow and reward patience that isn’t overly concerned with the crime-solving side of the stories. It isn’t for everyone and it isn’t easy to get hold of, but I had to include it in this review series, because I found it very much worth watching. ***+. My mug is up. 

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