Episode 1 – Ethel
After 9 years apart, John Reginald Christie and his estranged wife Ethel reunite and move into 10 Rillington Place. As war breaks out, the fractures in their relationship reappear beneath the thin veneer of married respectability.
I watched this for three reasons, the preview looked good, I’m interested in true crime, and I’ve seen both Tim Roth and Samantha Morton put in some very very good performances in the past.
The first of three episodes is seen through the eyes of Christie’s wife, Ethel, and as a result you see little of what Christie himself is up to, only a portrait of an unhappy marriage as seen through the eyes of a passive woman who almost meekly goes back to a husband who she finds in jail and who cheats on her and abuses her.
The era and the environment are very well recreated in this BBC drama, and both Tim Roth as John Reginald Christie and Samantha Morton as Ethel put in wonderful performances, but the lack of action and the slow pace ultimately drag this down. I was tempted after watching this opening episode to forget about watching the rest, but checking IMDB I see that the following episodes are seen from different characters’ perspectives, so I will give them a go and hope it gets better.