Author Topic: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)  (Read 902 times)

Polymorphia

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Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« on: May 16, 2020, 05:24:07 AM »
That detective/cop series from the 90s with Robbie Coltrane. New thread, cos the last thread, from what I can tell, was from '06. First detective/cop show I've watched, and I've found it a good watch so far. Spoiler tags here do mean serious spoilers, so be careful with your mouse cursor!

Watched the series up to end of the first story of Series 3, where Beck throws himself off a roof. If general consensus is golden, I've left at the grandest bit (obviously Jimmy McGovern didn't write for Cracker after this, except for the final special). So far, I think it's a cracking TV show, Coltrane's performance as Fitz has been immense and powerful (enough to cement Fitz has Coltrane's primary role in my consciousness), and as with most critics, I found it became more interesting when it became a "how catch'em" from the second story onwards (To Say I Love You), the series also focusing more on the personal lives of the central characters, resulting in a bleakly tense, often funny, captivating show exposing the true misery that crime and murder can bring to a family and community. A highlight for me, as for everyone it seems, is Robert Carlyle's appearance as Albie, with a powerful and emotional story alongside, and I also felt Jimmy McGovern's other stories for S2 and S3 (Men Shall Weep, and Brotherly Love [once I'd gotten round the bloke I first saw in Bottom as being the villain]) were also fantastic and terrifying, especially the latter (The scene where the sex worker suddenly starts having blood dripping on her head was particularly terrifying.).

I found the middle of S2, which was not written by McGovern, slightly less interesting in its general plot, seeming a bit ham-fisted in general (the revelation being that the main bloke is obsessed with the Big Bang and the Planck Constant, and he connects it all with sex, and then repeats a line from the Bible to people, and in the end gets away with it all anyway!), though I still enjoyed Fitz's character's usage in these episodes even if the critics don't, and still found the first hour of the story till the girl's death as brilliant as the rest of the show. I thought this without knowing who had written this at the time (not McGovern), so it's not just me going with the grain.

Bring your thoughts on the series Cracker here if you've seen it, especially regarding if I should try and watch the rest of it, and other series like it that you like which may pique my interest.

For those of you out of the loop, a funny scene from it is on the Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob2aQxjDH_s
which is placed in the midst of a tense search for an insane serial killer who you have almost to understand his motives, and the protagonist's family life disintegrating around him.

chveik

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Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2020, 11:25:58 AM »
yeah I watched it last year. I was surprised by how great it was. it hasn't much to do with yer common police show really. what impressed me a lot was the incredibly smart way it treated difficult subjects, for instance the hysteria surrounding paedophilia or rape culture with Penhaligon's arc. the characters are all beautifully written too, and the scenes where Fitz obtains confessions are among the most intense I've seen in TV.

I think you should finish series 3 (don't bother with the specials), mostly to see where the characters end up. both stories are still pretty good anyway

maybe try Prime Suspect next? it's not as good but worth a watch

kngen

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Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2020, 01:59:41 PM »
Didn't realise that there had been another special after the one in Hong Kong, which was fucking awful (given that Coltrane said he wouldn't do another unless McGovern returned to write it, it seems that sentiment was shared within the production team to a certain extent).

To Be A Somebody is the obvious standout, as it was a huge fuck you to the establishment's Hillsborough narrative that was still being slowly chipped away at (and I love that McGovern threw in Albie's[1] bombing of the newspaper office as a specific fuck you to The Sun), but it's the 'resolution' of Best Boys that still haunts me (with chappy from Game of Thrones willing to be sentenced for something he didn't do, so wracked with the psychosexual guilt that Fitz has winkled out of him).

Is Nine Eleven worth watching then? Ach, I'll probably rewatch the lot and watch it anyway.



 1. Robert Carlyle is actually a Rangers fan, so Fitz walking in to the interview room chanting 'CEEEELTIC! CEEEELTIC!' is doubly enjoyable.

Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2020, 02:06:51 PM »
I didn't realise there was a 2006 special either. The Hong Kong one was below par but I appreciated the exotic change of scenery. Overall just a brilliant series. Never watched a full episode of the American remake of the show (think it was renamed Fitz in the UK) but probably best avoided.

chveik

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Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2020, 02:08:24 PM »
the last special is pretty terrible imo

petrilTanaka

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Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2020, 03:07:36 PM »
l i v
e r p
double o l liverpool eff see

Mister Six

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Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2020, 04:30:45 PM »
One Day A Lemming Will Fly is the stand-out story for me. Absolutely chilling.

The 9/11 special was pretty poor, I thought. The basic point about America monopolising the concept of terrorism after the attack was fair enough, but it didn't translate to a particularly interesting story or antagonist.

Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2020, 08:10:03 PM »
It's great. I've got the box set here somewhere. I bought it when I moved into a student house and we didn't have the internet and I wanted something to watch. That was probably about 12 years ago. Should give it a rewatch really.

I like how the 'shirley temple' pervert was the GAS MAAAAN in bottom.

Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2020, 12:45:12 PM »
l i v
e r p
double o l liverpool eff see

CEL-TIC

pigamus

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Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2020, 01:22:30 PM »
I didn't realise there was a 2006 special either.

Yeah, it's one of those series where everybody goes 'Oh yeah' when you bring it up but otherwise it's gone down the memory hole a bit, which is odd. I can't imagine anyone not being aware of a new Prime Suspect, for example.

Maybe it jumped the shark a bit with Penhaligon's rape, which was pretty horrible.

Rev+

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Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2020, 08:34:55 PM »
The 9/11 special is forgettable because they left it just that bit too long, and so it arrived at a point when it felt like everything had already been said.  A Cracker special a year or two after the fact could have been...  it's hard not to say cracking here, but you get me.

pigamus

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Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2020, 10:31:35 PM »
A Jimmy McGovern drama about 9/11, yeah, but I don't see the point of trying to shoehorn Fitz into it.

Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2020, 09:54:22 AM »
Watched this program when it was first on when I was about 9* and it left a fairly deep impression on me.

It encapsulates very well underlying northern nineties bleakness in contrast to the usual nineties aesthetic/modern day nostalgia for that decade.

The Robert Carlyle season is incredible.

*Not sure what my parents were thinking in retrospect.


petrilTanaka

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Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2020, 12:05:15 PM »
It encapsulates very well underlying northern nineties bleakness in contrast to the usual nineties aesthetic/modern day nostalgia for that decade.

to be honest, that general aesthetic is about 75% of my nostalgia for the 90s. that sort of overcast day. See also: Timeslides from Red Dwarf. The whole ennui feeling of the 80s being formally over but a lot of the grimness still looming there.

the other 25% is like sunny spring/summer mornings with the likes of the Wake Up Boo and Dark Clouds playing.

Re: Cracker (That Robbie Coltrane thing from the 90s)
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2020, 12:14:26 PM »
It did have a bit of an unsaturated "16mm" look to it. And the sets were all drab crumbling civil service sets that I think the were behind the curve of modern consumerism but have been slowly tarted up thanks to moving into more shared private spaces.

E.g. the aesthetic difference between an old dole office and a Job Centre.

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