I watched White House Farm on Netflix, which is apparently originally ITV though basically seems like a BBC production (there’s barely a difference these days), covering a really famous multiple-murder in the countryside in England in 1985. It was sort of fascinating because I didn’t really remember what happened, just that when the murderer’s appeals happened later, all the adults were like “Wow this a waste of time…”.
It’s a pretty straightforward piece really, because we know who did it, essentially, and we know it’s going to get solved (though I couldn’t remember exactly whether that translated to a conviction), but as a straightforward piece, it’s extremely well-cast (bunch of GoT alums, including Robert Baratheon, Yara Greyjoy, and Theon Greyjoy), well-shot, dramatic, tense, and has some really good performances - I’d think the murderer was laying it on a bit thick, but by all accounts, that was how they behaved.
Of course what fascinated me was that it was set in 1985, and actually looked pretty much like 1985. The haircuts and a lot of the fashion were actually bad, the rooms garish, the furniture ugly and often from decades before, the cars dented and scraped (which seemed to be far more common then). It wasn’t quite as overdecorated a lot of stuff was back then, but that’s something you have to do to make stuff work on film. There were a lot of small details like the types of alarm clock and kinds of umbrella and things which were well-observed. I only spotted one genuine error re: time period, which was an asthma inhaler - it was a salbutamol inhaler, as you’d expect, but it was MDI inhaler (the spray kind), and I know that the NHS weren’t giving those out in the '80s in the UK (they were in the US), but rather only giving out dry powder inhalers (which are terrible, note, studies showed 50-100% of people used them wrong, yeah you read that right - potentially everyone used them wrong).
The real '80s thing (I know I was there, I had asthma and so did a bunch of kids I knew) was like this:
But we got this instead:
Sorry the images are so big, but sure how to scale linked images.
It’s a really minor thing but I was kind of fascinated by it, because it’s something that was definitely the case, but would be extremely hard to find out unless you asked someone who was an British asthma-suffer from the 1980s, because if you look it up online, MDI inhalers actually predate dry powder inhalers. I guess I’ve got to that age where I know period details that cannot easily be discovered by normal research - I know my mum was always getting mad with stuff set in the 1960s for messing up stuff like this.
Anyway, White House Farm is solidly entertaining as a bit of true crime with good actors in it, but it’s not going to blow you away. If you never heard of the murders you may be pretty surprised I guess because it’s kind of shocking.