Martina Cole’s The Take
Check Sky One – all la-di-da with their original drama commissions. They’ve been wanting to muscle in on BBC territory for some time and their adaptation of Martina Cole’s The Take was heralded with an unprecedented advertising campaign: billboards, TV, radio, press, sandwich boards – they wanted everyone to see what they can do with a load of balls and a snooker cue. And what they did was a pretty decent drama with some good, if overwrought, performances from an impressive cast. In doing so they exceeded the inevitably low expectations we have of them.
“Freddie: a woozy, leery standover man fresh out of chokey looking to settle a few scores. The first thing he does is stick a man’s head through a television screen, making him a vegetable (Channel 5 have been doing something similar for years).”
All gangster sagas should have a charismatic psycho and Tom Hardy, last seen playing charismatic psycho Charles Bronson, comes correct as Freddie a woozy, leery standover man fresh out of chokey looking to settle a few scores. The first thing he does is stick a man’s head through a television screen, making him a vegetable (Channel 5 have been doing something similar for years). This action pisses imprisoned crime family boss Ozzy (Brian Cox) the fuck off. You can’t ruin a good TV set like that, particularly if you cabbageify one of his best earners. Freddie is immediately put on warning: ixnay on the abbagecay, m’kay?
“I always think Brian Cox is miscast as a criminal. He really isn’t all that versatile and lest we forget he killed Deadwood with that Jack Langrishe bollocks.”
Yeah right, like psycho tits is going to listen to that. Freddie is a savage beast who just keeps coming, not like his cousin Jimmy (Shaun Evans), an altogether more sophisticated kind of scrote, sophistiscrote if you will. Jimmy has a lovely wife Maggie (Charlotte Riley), the sister of Freddie’s lovely wife Jackie (Kierston Wareing). Freddie treats Jackie appallingly and wants to put his cock inside Maggie but she’s all “talk to the wedding ring”. Freddie is of the opinion that a kiss on the hand may be quite continental but sexual assault is a boy’s best friend. So he rapes her some and gives her the baby Jimmy couldn’t. That’s just mean.
There are some hairy Turk drug dealers milling around, some child-on-child murderation and a couple of fairly weak prison shankings but the details aren’t really important. The key SAGA ingredients are all there. Family. Ambition. Resentment. Betrayal. Questionable paternity. It’s like The Thorn Birds set in Hackney. Tom Hardy’s is the standout performance – convincingly venal and curiously sympathetic as the appalling Freddie. Pierston Wareing and Charlotte Pieley make a diverting pair of trollopey molls and Shaun Evans is alright as Jimmy. I always think Brian Cox is miscast as a criminal. He really isn’t all that versatile and lest we forget he killed Deadwood with that Jack Langrishe bollocks.
But this was alright though. I’m going to allow Sky One another shot at original drama.
The best thing about it: Tom Hardy — another impressive performance
The worst thing about it: Brian Cox. He ain’t a killer, he’s still learning how to walk. From New York to Cali all the real niggas carry chalk.
The verdict on Martina Cole’s The Take: Daft but highly watchable.
Marks out of 10: 7