24/06/2011

BBC CASE HISTORIES - WHEN BRILLIANT BOOKS BECOME GOOD DRAMA


I've just finished watching BBC Case Histories, 6 poignant episodes, 3 compelling stories,  based on Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie books, "Case Histories",  ""One Good Turn", "When Will There be Good News?". To be honest, I must admit  that the novels are "much more" than the TV series. If you still haven't,  you must read Kate Atkinson's mystery stories with detective Brodie as the protagonist, her storytelling embodies both emotional depth and humour (My review of her "When will There Be Good News?"can   give you a hint of her style, themes and characterization) .
The series was very good, another great BBC production I liked a lot. There were a few changes here and there in the scripts which I didn't mind (Ashley Pharoah, writer of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, reworked Kate Atkinson's novels for television - read an interview here). To be definitely clear, no criticism nor disappointment, only I find the books let you go deeper into both characters and their stories. 





Have a look at this video of Kate Atkinson and Jason Isaacs discussing the series

Jackson Brodie,  played by Jason Isaacs (The Patriot, Harry Potter), is a complex character, "damaged goods", a compulsive detective , haunted, traumatized. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life  marked by a family tragedy, he attempts to unravel disparate case histories. "A moral warrior", as the author herself says in the video interview above. Most of the cases Brodie finds himself involved in are of missing girls. All and each of them reminds him of a very special girl he couldn't save in his childhood. He's everything but a knight in shining armour: he's fragile, funny, awkward, unreliable but he is a deeply good-hearted and extremely romantic character. And an infatigable detective, of course. As Atkinson stresses in the interview:  "That's why Jackson is not interested in forensics. He's interested in finding the closure for others he'll never get. Jackson wants to help. He has love to give." 


 Jackson Brodie's Women



His ex wife, Josie. 




Jackson's beautiful lover, Julie,  an actress

The only ex colleague who still speaks to Jackson, DI  Louise Munroe

Jackson's most important woman, his daughter Marlee

Deborah Arnold, Jackson's receptionist
In this interview at The Guardian,  Jason Isaacs and Stuart Jeffries  discuss Brodie's appeal to women (he has legions of female admiring readers) with an interesting literary comparison with Mr Rochester : 
His appeal (mostly to women) as Jackson Brodie is not proportional to his workout regime. He's mined deeper than that. I suggest to Isaacs that Brodie is a latter-day   Rochester, a wounded beast whom wannabe Jane Eyres imagine nursing."I think he's the opposite of Rochester," says Isaac, who once turned down that role. But surely there's something in the comparison. Even though Jackson is forbiddingly butch, he frequently gets beaten up or comes off second best in train crashes, and so finds himself being dabbed by appealing women. (...)  he hobbles in the footsteps of the adorable, savvy yet broken 16-year-old Reggie, one of those lost girls with whom he always gets entangled. Yes, Jackson's butch and macho, but in terms of narrative focus he's displaced by strong women, symbolically castrated even.
Case Histories is a character driven, not procedural, detective series. Each story is, first and foremost, an exploration and revelation of character structured by the unravelling of a crime mystery. Distinctive in their  humanity and modernity, each two part story reflects the novel from which it is adapted, yet clearly belongs to a returnable series. The series has the ambition of the best jigsaw puzzles of Kate Atkinson’s novels, aiming to delight both her established audience and a mainstream TV audience with her immensely likeable and original characters. Highly recommendable.

Case Histories is set amidst the iconic landscapes of modern Edinburgh



7 comments:

lunarossa said...

Fabulous, MG! I couldn't say it better...I was in love with Jackson Brodie, now I'm in love with Jason Isaacs, too. Have a lovely Sunday! Ciao. A.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@lunarossa
And I must thank you, A., for discovering them both. and my friend K/V for alerting me about the series. I hadn't heard it was being aired. By the way, I'm going to read the latest Jackson Brodie adventure you sent me very soon! I'm so proud of my signed copy! I'm sure "Started Early, Took My Dog" will be very good. Buona domenica. MG

Anonymous said...

The first time I saw Jason Isaacs was as Evil Colonel Tavington: his performance was astonishing, and I kept wondering who he was. For sure, he was the ONLY reason to watch The Patriot :) Since then, I've seen him in other parts, mainly as a baddie (Hook, Lucius Malfoy: he's very good as a baddie, like some other British TDH actors I know ;)
But after having seen Case Histories I can safely say he's very convincing as a 'hero' as well, apart of being gorgeous as usual. I haven't seen the whole series yet because I'm still reading the novels, which are quite good, IMHO.
Have a lovely week everyone,
xx K/V

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@K/V
Here's an expert of TDH Brits! I didn't know Jason Isaac, instead,but I can't deny he was brilliant as Jackson. He can easily be very good as a baddie, he's got the look.I saw The Patriot at the cinema when it came out, but I was not so interested in discovering who the wicked Colonel was. Now I know. TY K/V!

calexora said...

OH so excited about seeing this! I'm wondering if I should read the novels first or watch the series....I love british detective shows and one set in my old stomping grounds of Edinburgh will be even better! Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. :D

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Calexora
I didn't read all the novels, but I can assure you Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series is very good. It's up to you. If you are not as strict a "philologist" as my friend K/V, you might see the series then read the books; alternatively, you could just read the new one which has just been released and hasn't been adapted after watching the series. But don't miss the chance to read at least one of K. Atkinson's novels. Thanks for commenting. MG

iz4blue/Fanny said...

Thank You!! I've taken notice of Jason Isaac since The Patriot so for that alone I will look for this series but when I read the series is very character driven... even better!!