Being a rather earnest teenager who was obsessed with the prospect of nuclear war and conspiracy theories I was more than a little taken by Edge Of Darkness from the off. I remember going into school the day after the first episode and raving about it to anyone who would listen, however it turned out that very few of my mates if any had watched it. I eagerly awaited each episode and when it was repeated on BBC 1 only weeks later, or so it seemed I taped the whole thing and over the years must have watched it, maybe a dozen times.
The story of a provincial policeman trying to make sense of and investigate his daughter’s murder which appears to have been an accident as all concerned believe that Craven himself was the target due to a previous assignment in Northern Ireland but Craven is not convinced. As he tries to come to terms with his daughter’s death and find those responsible a whole other side to his daughter is revealed to him and her involvement in a direct action anti-nuclear group.
The story is well crafted and at the time highly plausible as the fear of everything and anything nuclear was at it’s height during this period. Which made for a very pertinent and chilling drama.
The acting is first class, from the slow methodical detective, wrought with grief whom Bob Peck played so well to the completely over the top but yet believable and likable CIA agent Darius Jedburgh played by Joe Don Baker. Joanne Whalley plays Craven’s dead daughter in what was the first thing that I remember her in.
Even the soundtrack, scored by Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen seemed to fit perfectly with the feel of the serial. Although not a big fan of Slowhand’s work I did buy the 12″ single that was released of the music, only to be disappointed that Clapton’s rendition of Willie Nelson’s Time Of The Preacher had been omitted from the disc.
The Time Of The Preacher features prominently through the episodes. In the first episode, it is the record that is on the turntable when Craven spends some time in his daughter’s bedroom after her death. Later on Jedburgh asks Craven if he knows the song and reveals that he believes that the lyrics relate to the here and now and not the old west. On a couple of occassions the pair sing the song and at the end there is a rather spooky, Ry Cooderish rendition of the tune played by Clapton.
The only thing that let the whole thing down was the sound quality which was piss poor in the original and not even cleaned up for the DVD release of 2003.
I have not seen the Hollywood remake and dread to think what Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone have done to the two main characters and will try to avoid ever seeing it as I know that it will just make my blood boil and cause me to rant at any one who will listen.
Willie Nelson – The Time Of The Preacher