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A Very British Murder Review

For someone who isn’t an admirer of strong and graphic horror films, I make up with my interest in non-fiction crime documentaries.

The BBC series entitled A Very British Murder examines the ‘morbid national obsession’ with murder and even though it is something we wish on nobody, we are drawn to it like a moth to a flame. The 3 episode series examines a number of different cases from the 19th century, beginning with the 1811 Ratcliff Highway Murders, the Red Barn Murder of 1826 and the chase across the Atlantic to capture murderer, Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen. The series additionally looks at the fiction side of the world of murder. It looks into the famous crime novelists such as authors Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie. It also discusses theatre productions like the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and the new entertainment source of cinema by looking into the works of Alfred Hitchcock.

Due to the mass mix of fiction and non fiction. I was fascinated to see how the editor would manage the transitions smoothly between each segment.

The program is presented by historian and Joint Chief Curator at the Historic Royal Palaces, Lucy Worsley.

Worsley literally follows in the footsteps of the murderers and victims which makes the audience feel like a detective and experiencing the intense adventure from long ago. This way of deliverance seems to highlight events and makes the narrative more genuine.

Worsley has to be one of my preferred documentary presenters due to her engaging and compassionate personality, which makes her stories and subject matters more enjoyable to watch. Due to the successful timeline structure, that allows the program to show all aspects of the theme. This makes the editing process more fluid and has created a visually pleasing series.

An interesting point that I picked up on, was that sitting and standing interviews were conducted mainly by the two subjects beside each other. There were also other shots included focusing on just one of the subjects so the editor could use these shots as a type of B-Roll. This creates a relaxed interview format and prevents the audience from feeling that they are watching a game of interview tennis. But by putting the two side by side, the audience feels like they are in the conversation and listening to the discussion.

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