- Brian Donaldson
- 22 January 2013
Peter Mullan and Richard E Grant star in this TV series about a gangster with Alzheimer's
Tony Soprano might well have ruined it for all TV gangsters. Now, rather than being an unreconstructed bad guy whose only problem was running out of asses to pop a cap into, they all have to have some health issues. So, in The Fear, Peter Mullan’s Brighton-based ‘entrepreneur’ isn’t seeing a shrink, instead he’s visiting an old medic pal in the shape of Richard E Grant to discuss the possibility that he is plunging into a fog of fully-blown Alzheimer’s.
There’s a terrific performance from Mullan at the heart of this tale (like The Sopranos, crime plays second fiddle to a story of family, loyalty and the end of an era) as he steadily deteriorates, causing untold trouble with an emerging Albanian crew, falling out with his ex-wife and sons while he tries to piece together the memory of a horrific deed from his past.
This four-part drama could easily have shorn an episode (there’s far too many shots of Mullan looking craggy and lost) while his screen offspring are rather flimsy characters. But as a portrait of a man disappearing into his own head, it’s captivating and moving.