Deputy PM Tom Dawkins (Gabriel Byrne) picks up the dead hand of a charred kid. We’re not quite sure who the barbecued infant is yet but there’s a Mackem lady telling him that it was he and his government who bought "the cowboys" here and that she holds him very much responsible. It’s all so very confusing. Turns out Kiddy McHalfhand was one of the 19 people killed, 94 injured in the explosion at the PetroFex plant in Scarrow, Teesside. Dawkins chuckles, tosses the kid’s hand back on the pile, jogs back to his Bentley, high-fives his driver and zooms back to London with Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet blasting from the stereo. It’s almost as if he doesn’t know he’s in a conspiracy drama inspired by A Very British Coup. He better acks somebody.
"Dawkins chuckles, tosses the kid’s hand back on the pile, jogs back to his Bentley, high-fives his driver and zooms back to London with Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet blasting from the stereo."
So with dead Northerners piling up the proles will want compensation and to this end Prime Minister Charles Flyte (Tobias Menzies) shoots over to America to politic with Petrofeck CEO Paul Jacob Clark (Stephen Dillane). A huge payoff is verbally agreed and before you know it the PM is flying back on a Petrofeck jet chatting on the phone to Tom Dawkins about his billboard trip. Things take a turn for the worse though when the plane explodes during the conversation introducing the Prime Minister to that fiery death/watery grave combo that is rarely welcomed. Charles Flyte killed in flight. Now isn’t it ironic. Don’t you think? A little too ironic? Yeah, I really do think.
"Charles Flyte killed in flight. Now isn’t it ironic. Don’t you think? A little too ironic? Yeah, I really do think."
Suspicious too coming on the back of the PetroFeck plant explosion. What is it with these guys and fatal explosions? A coroner is reporting that the Scarrow bodies have tissue toxicity levels off the scale. He’ll be dead by the end of the episode, hung from the ceiling of his lab from his neck until dead. By his own hand or another?
As if that wasn’t enough to think about the Prime Minister’s death triggers a leadership turd joust between slap-bait time server Felix Durrell (Rupert Graves, last seen in Scott and Bailey trying to kill Bailey) and straight talking thundernause Ros Yelland (Sylvestra Le Touzel). With the government polling comfortably below 0% party grandee Chief Whip Tywin Lannister suggests the moderately popular Tom might want to run. "Look, I don’t like you but I prefer you to either of these two shitbirds" the broad subtext of his pitch.
"With the government polling comfortably below 0% party grandee Chief Whip Tywin Lannister suggests Tom might want to run. ‘Look, I don’t like you but I prefer you to either of these two shitbirds’ the broad subtext of his pitch."
Tom is ambivalent. His head is all over the place what with freelance journalist Ellis Kane (Gina McKee) feeding him information from a source inside PetroFeck. She tells him of a previous near explosion at their Sollendale plant in the states. Such reckless agitating means GCHQ are tapping her phone notably Agnes Evans (Ruth Negga) and I suspect this drama will improve as we dig deeper into the PieNegga crust.
So who barbecued the baby and do we care? I’d imagine criminal negligence, corporate crime and a culture of secrecy are the culprits. And yes, as it happens I do care. Gabriel Byrne is a sympathetic decent old toff, McKee an impressively tenacious old hack and PetroFeck a suitably vile faceless conglomerate. I think I’m going to have plausibility issues if it turns out somebody smuggled a bomb on the plane and killed the Prime Minister because he knew too much. He was out on his arse at the next election and seemed easily gulled anyway. Whevs. It’s got good signs on it, this.
The verdict on Secret State : A Very British Poo.
Marks out of 10: 7.5
Imagined: Saturday, November 10, 2012