' Brid Brennan as Sally McCann
8 The List 23 October — 5 November 1992
Blll Paterson as Anthony Steadman
A new BBC Scotland drama serial Tell Tale Hearts looks set to be the most talked-about TV programme this autumn, with its powerful depiction of a child murderer. Tom Lappin spoke to writer Stephen Lowe and actor Bill Paterson.
he last TV drama series to spark off a national debate about its subject matter was Alan Bleasdale’s GBH, a complex mix of the personal and political that was both acclaimed and denounced by Right and Left alike. The increasingly fragmented nature of British television makes it difficult for dramatists to address the nation in the way the BBC’s Play For Today regularly did in the 605 and 703. If anybody‘s going to do it this year. it will be Stephen Lowe. with Tell Tale Hearts, a three-part drama series from BBC Scotland that looks set to garner admiration and controversy in equal measure. It‘s a powerful and disturbing story of
revenge, love and hatred. with its focus a paroled child murderer Anthony Steadman
(played by Bill Paterson). Steadman is pursued by two characters, an ambitious radio journalist seeking an interview, and a grieving mother who believes Steadman is also responsible for the death of her child. Directed in a disturbingly atmospheric style by Thaddeus O’Sullivan. it‘s a drama that seems likely to linger in the memory well beyond the normal time-span of a TV serial. The subject matter is an obvious sticking point, raising the question ofwhether child murder is a suitable subject for TV entertainment.
‘It is a difficult subject.‘ admits Lowe, ‘but it was something I felt we weren't looking at. I’d done a piece for the theatre called Demon Lovers, which was based to a certain extent on the Brady/Hindley story. and whileI was researching that, with prisoners