Martin writes here about the second in Channel 4’s Red Riding series, 1980. He says pretty much what I would have said about it (except of course that the star’s name is Considine). I’d add, though, that where Martin says it was more conventional than its predecessor, 1974, he’s approaching what I found most interesting about the piece: that everything you’d expect of a story about an investigation into police corruption pretty much winds up happening, but that somehow it doesn’t seem to matter. I pondered whether this was a victory of style over substance – the drama’s grittiness and bleak determinism persuading the viewer that what they were watching was cleverer than it was – but I’m not sure that would be fair. It might be, perhaps, that by presenting the well-worn cliches in a more rigorous context than those in which they are usually deployed, 1980 succeeded in wringing something more of them.
Or it might have been a victory of style over substance. Watch it and decide for yourself.