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 Edge of Darkness (1985)

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Posts : 134
Join date : 2008-03-02

PostSubject: Edge of Darkness (1985)   Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:01 am

Rating: 9.2/10 (641 votes)
Runtime: 317 min
Language: English
Country: UK
Color: Color
IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090424/

Director: Martin Campbell
Bob Peck ... Ronald 'Ron' Craven
Joe Don Baker ... Darius Jedburgh
Jack Watson ... James Godbolt
Joanne Whalley ... Emma Craven
Charles Kay ... Guy Pendleton
Ian McNeice ... Henry Harcourt
Sean Caffrey ... McCroon
Jeremy Child ... Government minister
Tim McInnerny ... Terry Shields
Kenneth Nelson ... Jerry Grogan
Hugh Fraser ... Robert Bennett
John Woodvine ... Chief Supt Ross
David Fleeshman ... Jones
Randal Herley ... Elliott
Bill Stewart ... DI Dingle

Description: Edge of Darkness is a British television drama serial, produced by BBC Television in association with Lionheart Television International and originally broadcast in six fifty-five minute episodes in late 1985. A mixture of crime drama, political thriller, and science fiction, it revolves around the efforts of policeman Ronald Craven (played by Bob Peck) to unravel the truth behind the brutal killing of his daughter Emma (played by Joanne Whalley). Craven's investigations soon lead him into a murky world of Government and corporate cover-ups and nuclear espionage, pitting him against dark forces that threaten the future of life on Earth.

Writer Troy Kennedy Martin was greatly influenced by the political climate of the time – particularly the Thatcher administration, perceived by many as reactionary, and the aura of secrecy surrounding the nuclear industry – and by the implications of the Gaia hypothesis of environmentalist James Lovelock, crafting a thriller that mingled real world concerns with mythic and the mystical elements. Kennedy Martin's original ending was more fantastic than that eventually used in the finished serial, proposing that Craven would turn into a tree but this was vetoed by other members of the cast and crew.

First broadcast on BBC2, Edge of Darkness was met with widespread critical acclaim and quickly earned a repeat on BBC1. Winner of several prestigious awards, it remains highly regarded to this day, often cited as one of the best and most influential pieces of British television drama ever made.

One: Compassionate Leave
Yorkshire police officer Ronald Craven (Bob Peck) is returning home with his daughter Emma (Joanne Whalley) having picked her up from a meeting of an environmental organisation at her University campus. On the doorstep of their home Emma is shot dead. The police concentrate their effort on the theory that her murder was a botched attempt on Craven's life by a criminal he had been responsible for convicting. However, as Craven goes through Emma's belongings, he discovers a geiger counter and a gun. He also learns that Emma and her things are radioactive. Travelling to London to assist with the inquiry, he is contacted by Pendleton (Charles Kay), a man “attached to the Prime Minister's office”, who informs him that Emma was known to them as a terrorist and that it was she, not Craven, who was the gunman's target.

Two: Into The Shadows
As he continues his investigations, Craven is accompanied by visions of Emma, and it is never clear whether she is actually appearing to him as a ghost or whether she is a product of his imagination. The fingerprints on the getaway car used by Emma's killer match that of Lowe, a man Craven arrested ten years previously. Meanwhile, Pendleton takes Craven to meet his colleague, Harcourt (Ian McNeice), who informs him that Emma was a member of a subversive anti-nuclear group called GAIA. A team of six GAIA members, led by Emma, had broken into a low level radioactive waste facility at Northmoor; all are now either dead or missing. After Craven makes a televised appeal for information about Emma's killer, he is contacted by CIA agent Darius Jedburgh (Joe Don Baker), an associate of Harcourt and Pendleton. Jedburgh shows Craven the CIA's file on Emma's activities: GAIA had become suspicious of Northmoor when a nearby reservoir had become contaminated with radiation, an occurrence that had also alerted the CIA, leading them to believe Northmoor was illegally storing plutonium. Jedburgh, along with Harcourt and Pendleton, is keen to find the source and purpose of the plutonium.

Three: Burden Of Proof
The police close in on their suspect, Lowe (Roy Heather), who is severely injured in a fall while trying to escape. Dying, he tells Craven he was working with McCroon, a terrorist Craven had got convicted in Northern Ireland. Emma's boyfriend, Terry Shields (Tim McInnerny), tells Craven that Emma was investigating a hot cell in Northmoor; he is later killed. Craven meets Harcourt and Pendleton at the House of Commons where an inquiry is taking place into the sale of International Irradiated Fuels (IIF) – Northmoor's owners – to the Fusion Corporation of Kansas, owned by Jerry Grogan (Kenneth Nelson). Pendleton tells Craven he believes Grogan was behind Emma's death. Returning to Yorkshire for Emma's funeral, Craven is refused permission to seek a warrant to enter Northmoor. Returning home, he is observed by McCroon (Sean Caffrey).

Four: Breakthrough
McCroon breaks into Craven's house intent on killing him. Craven demands McCroon tell him who he is working for but McCroon is shot by a police marksman before he can say anything. Through a contact of Mac (Struan Roger), a colleague from his time in Northern Ireland, Craven gains access to a terminal connected to the MI5 computer. He checks the MI5 records for GAIA, Northmoor and Emma and learns that McCroon was acting on the orders of Northmoor Security. He also obtains a three-dimensional map of Northmoor from the computer. Craven contacts Jedburgh and asks him to accompany him inside Northmoor.

Five: Northmoor
Craven and Jedburgh penetrate Northmoor and discover the hot cell – it has been sealed off following an explosion, a consequence of GAIA's attempted break-in. Jedburgh, under orders from the CIA, enters the hot cell and steals the plutonium. At the House of Commons inquiry, IIF chief executive Robert Bennett (Hugh Fraser) is forced to admit the presence of plutonium at Northmoor and the deaths of the GAIA team.

Six: Fusion
Craven and Jedburgh escape Northmoor but both are dying from radiation poisoning. Jedburgh makes for the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, which is hosting a NATO conference on directed energy weapons. Also present at the conference is Grogan who announces that the British government has approved the purchase of IIF and speaks of harnessing the power of the atom to conquer the galaxy. Jedburgh makes a speech about the dangers of nuclear proliferation, finishing the speech by bringing together two bars of plutonium he has removed from Northmoor, causing a criticality accident and irradiating those responsible for setting the facility up. Emma's ghost appears to Craven and tells him of a time black flowers grew, warming the Earth and preventing life from becoming extinct. She tells him that the black flowers have returned and will melt the polar icecaps, destroying mankind so that life can continue. Craven goes to dissuade Jedburgh from the next step in his plan, which is to cause a nuclear explosion in Scotland with the rest of the plutonium. He succeeds, though the secret services follow him and kill Jedburgh. Craven wanders into the mountains to die, calling Emma's name. On the mountains, as Emma predicted, the black flowers are growing.

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The musical score was provided by Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen. Guitarist Clapton had come to fame as a member of rock supergroup Cream. He was approached to provide the score by producer Michael Wearing. Shortly afterwards, when Kamen himself brought Clapton to a screening of Brazil (1985), which he had scored, Slowhand asked Kamen if he would collaborate with him on Edge of Darkness. Kamen became one of Hollywood's most successful film composers, writing the scores for many blockbuster films including the Lethal Weapon series (1987-1998) (with Eric Clapton), the first two Die Hard films (1988 and 1990), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and X-Men (2000). He died in 2003.

Aside from the Clapton/Kamen soundtrack, Willie Nelson's "The Time of the Preacher", New Model Army's "Christian Militia", and Tom Waits' "16 Shells From A 30.6", feature in the series. "Christian Militia" is on the record player when Terry's body is found. Craven listens to "The Time of the Preacher" when he is in Emma's room in the first episode. It later emerges Jedburgh is familiar with the song and both he and Craven sing it on two occasions, the lyrics being significant.

Edge of Darkness received eleven nominations and won six awards at the 1986 BAFTA Awards:

Won: Best Drama Series/Serial (Martin Campbell & Michael Wearing)
Won: Best Actor (Bob Peck).
Nominated: Best Actor (Joe Don Baker).
Nominated: Best Actress (Joanne Whalley).
Won: Best Original Television Music (Eric Clapton & Michael Kamen).
Won: Best Film Cameraman (Andrew Dunn).
Won: Best Film Editor (Adrian Fisher, Dan Rae).
Won: Best Film Sound (Dickie Bird, Rob James, Christopher Swantoni, Tony Quinn).
Nominated: Best Makeup (Daphne Croker).
Nominated: Best Graphics (Andy Coward, Linda Sherwood-Page).
Nominated: Best Design (Graeme Thompson).
At the 1986 Broadcasting Press Guild television critics' awards, Edge of Darkness won two awards:
Won: Best Actor (Bob Peck) (joint winner with Ben Kingsley for Silas Marner).
Nominated: Best Actor (Joe Don Baker).
Won: Best Drama Series.

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