Before Jimmy McGovern wrote the docu-drama Hillsborough, he tackled the disaster in To Be A Somebody, the fourth episode of Cracker.
Albie Kinsella (Robert Carlyle) is at his father's funeral. This death compounded by Albie's marriage breakdown triggers some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder. When an Asian newsagent refuses him 4p credit, Albie snaps and returns to murder him. Initially shocked by his actions, Albie tries to justify this needless killing with a twisted logic; a logic which threatens an entire community, rationalising it as revenge for the ninety-six people that died at Hillsborough, a tragedy that Albie indirectly blames for the death of his father. One down and another ninety-five victims to go, Albie sets his sights on a freelance reporter, known to have worked with The Sun.
Meanwhile, convinced that this murder bears all the hallmarks of a racist attack, the police centre their investigation around known local facist sympathisers. However, when all leads prove fruitless, and another psychologist's profile is undermined, Fitz's expertise is required. Fitz has to unlock the force that drives Albie to commit murder, a philosophy that has no reason and is potentially explosive.
Originally broadcast in the UK
as three parts shown weekly from 10th October 1994 on ITV
. Available on video distributed by VCI. Running length: 148mins.
Rates (at least by me) as probably one of the best moments of television acting, direction and screenwriting in the nineties. All ten of the Cracker episodes were fantastic but it is widely regarded (ie. not just by me) that To Be A Somebody is the best of the lot by a long throw.
CAST & CREW:
Fitz: Robbie Coltrane
Judith Fitzgerald: Barbara Flynn
D.S. Jane Penhaligan: Geraldine Somerville
D.S. Jimmy Beck: Lorcan Cranitch
D.C.I. Wise: Ricky Tomlinson
Albie: Robert Carlyle
Written by: Jimmy McGovern - Produced by: Paul Abbott
Executive Producer: Sally Head - Directed by: Julian Jarrold
© Granada Television MCMXCIV