Thursday, 9 October 2008

My Top Ten Kavanagh QC Stories: No 2 Ancient History

Ancient History… (First screened in the UK television on 17th March 1997, writer Nigel Kneale.) Kavanagh prosecutes an apparently blameless family doctor in an unprecedented war crime trial. The court hears devastating testimony as victims of Nazi atrocities re-live their experiences in concentration camps, but it's left to a witness for the defence to reveal the final truth.
I think my NO 1 and 2 were the very best of Kavanagh, and sadly something has to be at 2, and this is the one I've chosen, though ask me another day and it would have been no 1, because I love both stories equally, neither of them to me are better than the other.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m mad interested on the Second World War, and for this reason alone I had to pick this story, it is very harrowing to listen to those who were victims of what happened during their time in concentration camps.

Credit where credit is due, Warren Mitchell as Rypin, Frederick Treves as Beck and Sara Kestelman as Halina are outstanding, and bring this story to life, they should have got awards for their performances in this.

The scene where James is questioning her in court, and then turns and says softly to himself, “Why didn’t he shoot her”, only John could have given this story the grace and dignity it deserved.

Even watching Matt, searching the internet, and James still finding him doing it the following day, and the scene with Lizzie’s father, I just love this story so much, it sure is one of the best Kavanagh dramas, and dam hard to put at no 2.

John is at his pure best in this story, and it shows in the courtroom scenes, especially questioning Halina but also the others who were also convicts of the concentration camps.


Lollipop said...

This is my pick for Number One.
It never fails to move me with both horror and tears. I think it is oneof John's finest performances.
The scene where he whispers," why didn't he just shoot her" is a masterpiece on John's part. His expression alone says it all.

Theresa said...

I haven't rewatched it yet, but yess Lolly I do clearly remember that scene where Kavanagh says 'Why didn't he just shoot her?' Very powerful. And I also clearly recall the glazed accepting look on the victims face.