Wired for crime

There's nothing quite like a good ol' British crime. They are deftly written, darkly manic, grisly and bleak, without the need for histrionics or sentimentality.

Wire in the Blood, now in its sixth season is one such successful drama, not the least of which is because of its lead actor Robson Green. As clinical psychologist Tony Hill, he has faced a string of serial killers, corpses and body counts. But it's his unique science-book heroism, rather than testosterone that sees him solving crimes.

In the latest series Tony will be placed in ongoing jeopardy.

"One of the new changes you'll see is we've invented an arc whereby somebody that Tony has put behind bars escapes, and spends the rest of the series seeking revenge," he said. "So we have this constant threat throughout the series.

"You form a character like Tony, who's endearing, clumsy, socially dysfunctional, but he helps damaged minds and he helps the police solve crimes. He's someone you hopefully care about and will follow, and you need to jeopardise it. It's the basic premise in all stories of this genre."

The series kicks off with another grisly story of a serial murderer who is capturing, imprisoning, torturing and then eating his victims while they are still alive. It's not exactly the cheeriest of days at the office, but Green has no problem in separating fiction from reality.

"As an actor you have to balance it. I've just played an elf in a film called Clash of the Santas in which I rescue Santa from terrorism. But it's not a bleak world, we're storytelling. If it was a bleak world I wouldn't be doing the job.

"I'm not a clinical psychologist; I'm an actor who pretends to be one. The bodies aren't real, the blood is stuff you put on top of ice creams, it's all great fun, we're storytelling and suspending disbelief," he insists.

"I'm not a method actor. I don't take on board the seriousness of what some actors do. I take life seriously not acting seriously."

But he takes work seriously. Green is also a producer of the series, made by his own production company Coastal Productions. It puts him perfectly in the driver's seat to have creative control over the series.

"I'm not only providing stability for myself and my family but providing an avenue for people who want to be involved in the entertainment industry. Young people come up to me and say ‘How did you get started?' I tell them ‘I was like you, looking for an avenue, an opportunity to get involved.'"

It also puts him across everything from script approval to international sales and even monitoring the drama's content and classifications for different countries.

"They're broadcast as one-hours in the UK, they're broadcast as 90-minute films in Australia, South East Asia. When they go to America they're in a different format. It depends on the territory.

"You have different legislation and censorship laws [in Australia] than we do in England, as they do in South Africa, Israel, South East Asia or America. We have to adhere to those laws so they cut them accordingly."

Green says Australian classification requirements are conservative compared to some markets.

"Because it goes out at 8:30, your watershed is different to something that goes out at 9:00. For instance there's an image of torture in the first episode that I don't think you would have in the Australian episode.

"There's no blood flowing or anything like that. You know what you're in for when you're watching Wire in the Blood, the dark, destructive nature of human beings."

Despite its dark themes, use of violence and brutal storytelling, Wire in the Blood is still a ripping whodunit series.

Belying a myth, Green says a large part of the audience is actually female viewers.

"Seventy percent of the viewership and readership of this particular genre are female, I didn't know that. And most of the writers of this genre are female.

"It's layered. Visually it may be disturbing but usually there is intelligence behind the writing."

Wire in the Blood series six premieres on ABC1 8:30pm Friday September 5.

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The phrase "the wire in the blood" comes from T.S. Eliots "Four Quartets". - "The trilling wire in the blood/sings below inveterate scars/appeasing long-forgotten wars." In an interview Robson Green (lead actor) said the phrase "wire in the blood" could be taken to mean a genetic kink, something impure and unusual in the blood, that leads to the kind of psychosis Hill might deal with.



The author himself Val McDermid says: 'Who knows what Eliot really meant by that line? Robson's explanation is as good as any... For myself, I've always taken it to be a metaphor for the thrill of adrenaline surging through the bloodstream. But we'll never know for sure
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The new season (series six) is showing in the UK (on BBC) and Australia (on ABC) simultaneously. Hope that clears up any confusion!
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I love brit comedy, but not so keen on the dramas.
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The ABC mentioned in the article is an Australian TV channel (www.abc.net.au/tv)
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"I think that they mean that it premieres on the BBC, not ABC..."

- Yeah, I was gonna say I don't recall it being on between "Wipeout" and "Samantha Who" (or whatever shows they play [and I ignore] on ABC). Plus I was gonna say if it really HAS been playing on ABC this whole time, I've really made a dummy of myself by BUYING each season on DVD instead of just watching it...
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It airs on ITV1 in the UK, not the BBC.
I'm looking forward to the new series, one of very few British programmes worth watching.
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I think that they mean that it premieres on the BBC, not ABC...
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It's on of my favorite crime shows. Truly impressive!
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They show it on Canvas in Belgium! It's a really good show, episodes are usually 1u30, so it's like a mini-movie! Really worth watching!!
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Never heard of the novels, may be worth checking out.
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