Posted by: Paul | April 27, 2010

Five Daughters

Aisling Loftus as Gemma Adams in Five Daughters

When I started to watch the first episode of this three part dramatisation of the Ipswich murders, I felt it was all a bit unsavoury. But how could it not be? It’s a grim story – five current and former heroin-addicted prostitutes working close to the Ipswich Town ground are murdered one by one in the winter of 2006. It’s still the biggest investigation Suffolk Police have ever undertaken, and living fairly close to the county border it all felt a bit close to home at the time, and watching on Sunday brought those feelings of concern to the surface again. This is not a movie, this really happened.

A few weeks ago, when we cleared out my grandmother’s house, we hired a van from a firm located very close to the site where two of the bodies were discovered. As we drove across a bridge over the brook, there were bunches of flowers from fresh to fading secured to the railings over the water. I felt cold.

My wife pointed out that it was all created with the approval of the girl’s families, and there was a charity set up after the events to attempt to help girls break the cycle of addiction and oppression and get out of the ‘game’, the Somebody’s Daughter Memorial Fund.

As for the programme itself, my initial worries proved unfounded as the extremely difficult and uncomfortable subject matter was very sensitively handled. No glamourisation, it felt authentic and convincing. I’m particularly impressed by the depiction of the relationships between the girls and their mothers, a very moving range from antagonistic to tender and back again.

So the last part goes out tonight and we unfortunately all know how this story ends. But this is not TV as entertainment – this is TV as awareness, as education, and all the more important for it.

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