AUSTRALIAN TV PREVIEW - "NINE ELEVEN"
Miss This, It's A Cracker
everything else tonight, Cracker's back in a brand new adventure
that has not even been shown in the UK. What's not to like about
Cracker? Great script, great acting, good characters, rapid pace
and best of all, a leading man so flawed but so vital, so
passionate, so eratic. Great at his job, hell to be married to.
Ten years have gone by in the life of Fitz since last we saw him,
observed his dalliance with Penhaligon and the complication of his
wife, Judith, becoming pregnant. They have spent the intervening
years in Australia, and are back in Manchester, for their daugher
Katy's wedding. And yes, Fitz is behaving badly again. Enjoy his
inspired performance at the wedding, and weep.
is a changed town but Fitz is not. He finds himself working on the
case of a dead comedian and soon is lured into a deeply engrossing
hunt which involves a former British soldier still burdened with
the horrors of his time in Northern Ireland and inspired to
violence the spectre of the Twin Towers disaster. Fitz - his name
is Eddie, which always amuses me - is eager to prove he can still
get in the mind of a killer, and not so eager to catch the plane
back to Australia. Again, poor Judith pays the price for being
Coltrane's Fitz is the creation of one of television's very best
storytellers, the legendary Jimmy McGovern. He didn't write every
episode of the previous series and the ones written by others were
easy to spot - not because they were bad but because they just
lacked that special edge that comes with McGovern's work. His
ability to get inside his characters requires great effort. But it
shows. Indeed, Coltrane would not come back for this
feature-length episode without the assurance of McGovern's pen.
The heavy-drinking, heavy-smoking Fitz is such a powerful
character. You can almost smell the cigarette smoke, the sweat,
the sheer weight of his presence. As for as dramatic creations go,
they don't come much better than Fitz. Miss this at your peril.
MORNING HERALD THE GUIDE - "NINE ELEVEN"
Coltrane returns to his greatest role, writes Greg Hassall.
fans of intelligent British crime drama, the return of Cracker
is like the second coming. It's 10 years since Robbie Coltrane
(pictured) last played Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald, the
show's brilliant, but flawed, anti-hero, and 12 years since
creator Jimmy McGovern wrote an episode. Now they're back with a
two-hour Cracker special, Nine
Eleven, and Australian viewers will be the first in the world to
see it when it airs this week on Seven. McGovern stopped writing
for Cracker early in the third
season, explaining to The Guide in 1999 that "I didn't think
there was anywhere else for it to go". Writing duties were
taken up by Paul Abbott (State of Play, Shameless), who had worked
on the show previously as a producer. Abbott is a fine writer but
the show never reached the dizzy heights of the first two seasons
and Coltrane quit after the 1996 telemovie White Ghost, refusing
to do any more episodes unless McGovern wrote them.
forward a decade and the pair are reunited. So what brought
McGovern back to the project? McGovern told British magazine The
Works that he had agreed to write another Cracker
for Granada if the broadcaster sponsored a charity he supported.
An inauspicious start, perhaps, but McGovern has declared the
finished product "excellent" and said Coltrane was
"very happy" to take part. Nine Eleven sees Fitz return
to Manchester for his daughter's wedding after seven years in
Sydney with his wife. He gets involved in the hunt for the killer
of an American comedian and finds himself on the trail of a
troubled former soldier. "It's about a man driven mad by the
aftermath of 9/11," McGovern said. "That's been the most
amazing thing that's happened to white people in my experience.
It's about that and the world today, as seen through the eyes of a
white man in Britain."
Nine Eleven was such a positive experience for McGovern and
Coltrane that, according to unconfirmed reports in the British
press, both have committed to a full series of new episodes next
year. An enticing prospect, but for now the world premiere of the
first instalment in 10 years will do nicely. Cracker:
Nine Eleven airs on Seven on Friday at 8.45pm.
MORNING HERALD TV REVIEW - "NINE ELEVEN"
Robbie Coltrane's giant among TV characters, is back on the job.
will be no surprise that writer Jimmy McGovern, having invented
Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald, should, in returning to this
giant among TV characters, have something that he would like to
get off his chest. A polemic or two, maybe? Ah, yes, one of which
is now fired against the Americans and particularly their role in
Iraq and then, almost simultaneously, the British and their role
in Northern Ireland. It's been a while since McGovern handed some
of his storytelling skills over to Paul Abbott, in whose safe
hands Cracker continued, seamlessly, with Robbie Coltrane
continuing to find fresh nuances in portraying Fitz as a hopeless,
ultimately soft-centered family man, with razor-sharp perceptions
of how life should be lived - if only he could manage it.
has picked up his pen and Fitz is back in his life, as much a
pisspot and addicted gambler as ever, but now his wife is back by
his side. Where
has he been these past seven years? Why, Australia, of course.
When the need arises to make themselves scarce, British television
characters are traditionally dispatched to the ends of the Earth.
So, as Fitz explains to the Manchester taxi driver on his return,
it's been the "land of skin cancer and Skippy". Fitz
is beaming and fabulous in morning suit as he escorts his daughter
down the aisle. His manner reverts to the Fitz of old, then lets
loose at America in a dazzling diatribe to the groom's father.
I have avoided telling you what Nine Eleven is all about
and how Fitz returns to his old profiling skills. There has been a
vicious crime, but you must wait 16 minutes for that as McGovern
has things to say, and a further nine before Fitz is back on the
job, divining wisdom from the urinals in a gents' lavatory. Lovely
to Bob Croucher and Greg Hassall for the above articles.
Unofficial Guide To Cracker 1999-2006