Ex-ITN correspondent Gerald Seymour first came to prominence with his IRA novel Harry’s Game and its success was for once enhanced rather than tarnished by its TV adaptation. This dynamic manhunt thriller, faithfully adapted by Semour himself and adroitly directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark, was originally serialised in three hour-long parts on consecutive nights in October 1982. If its topicality has been blunted by the passage of time, Clark’s handling of the suspense mechanics deployed is still very impressive as is the generally low key atmosphere which largely eschews melodramatic hyperbole in favour of understated realism.
The typical Seymour scenario, a contest between two champions from opposing sides, here gets its best treatment, with a pre-Casualty Derek Thompson playing the young IRA assassin hunted by a psychologically damaged British Army Captain (Ray Lonnen, fresh from three years starring in Ian Mackintosh’s criminally undervalued spy series, The Sandbaggers).
The depiction of Belfast’s Falls Road as a penumbral war zone has lost none of its power to shock, while the script and direction are astute enough to avoid being too partisan, both sides shown as being equally callous in their basic disregard of the suffering of individuals. Considering the plot relevance of Lonnen’s initially wavering accent, Linda Robson’s decidedly cockney inflected brogue dents its realism somewhat. On the DVD the main extra sees an avuncular Ray Lonnen provide an amusing twenty-minute reminiscence about the filming of the serial in both Leeds and (even more surprisingly) Belfast, despite it being almost at the height of the Troubles. The Wikipedia entry devoted to this TV serial can be found here, while the unofficial Gerald Seymour appreciation website can be found here: www.webgeordie.co.uk/geraldseymour/
The DVD is available in the shops but is also available at a reduced price directly from the distributors Network DVD from the website: www.networkdvd.net/
The show spawned a popular theme tune by Clannad, whose official website can be found at: www.clannad.ie. The tune be heard all over the net but here is a link to a video posting on YouTube: http://youtu.be/oONUhkOrnCw