In The Red – BBC tv 1998

“You are the most useless idle old hack in the history of the BBC!”
“You’re far too young to know.”

Apart from the above YouTube post (which leads on to episodes 2 & 3), ‘In The Red’ seems to have all but disappeared. A gorgeously satirical and remarkably prescient comedy thriller starring Warren Clarke as an old school, pissed up journalist investigating the serial murders of bankers, this three parter is well crafted with an excellent pedigree – adapted from the Mark Tavener novel by Malcolm Bradbury – and an exceptional cast.

Many highlights include Siobhan Redmond as Ms. Sin (a very Jean Brodie dominatrix), Stephen Fry and John Bird dress-rehearsing their Prentiss and McCabe roles for ‘Absolute Power’ and Sally Phillips as the dopehead news reader Gemma White, who I would love to believe is based on Charlotte Green. In fact, I do believe it.

An interesting twist – ‘Absolute Power’ was a Radio 4 series which grew out of “In The Red” then moved to television, whereas “In The Red” made the journey from novel to tv series to audiobook, narrated by Bird and Fry, then to a BBC Radio 7 series.

Despite the YouTube vid being of average quality (but quite watchable), I would say it is essential viewing for any admirer of quality British television and observer of turn of the century British culture.


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