Review – Broken

Published: September 25, 2017

A priest acts as the glue that holds a broken community together in present-day England.
Father Michael Kerrigan (Sean Bean) is the parish priest for an urban community in the north of England. Week in, week out, he plays the role of confidant and counsellor to his parishioners alongside his mandatory church duties. However what he deals with on a day-to-day basis, alongside the trauma he has struggled with since being abused as an altar boy, leads him to question everything he has always believed in, and whether any of what surrounds him, including himself, can ever really be fixed.

Well, I’ve got to be honest here and say that this was a show and a half. Broken is the show that this country needs right now because of what it covered. It highlighted so many of the things that are going wrong at the minute; shed a light on social issues that perhaps not everyone is aware of, or if they are, is not familiar with just how serious a problem they might be. What made this so great though was the fact that despite dealing with some very real issues, the show delivered plenty of laughs along the way. Not bad for a drama with Austerity Britain at the heart of it, eh?

I loved Sean Bean as Father Michael Kerrigan. He was so human and sincere with everything he tried to do, and it was so obvious that he struggled with a number of the church’s policies that are a bit outdated today. Bean really was tremendous in the role, and made me totally forget that I’d ever seen him as any villainous character in the past. He brought a sense of genuine compassion to Michael, and also a hefty amount of personal struggle, and I’m sure that this was helped massively by his own working class upbringing. Bean was also flanked by a number of familiar faces, including Anna Friel, Adrian Dunbar (Ted ‘Fella’ Hastings in Line Of Duty) and also Ray Donovan’s Paula Malcomson, which was nice to see, because it felt like there was a lot of celebrity backing for the social change that needs to take place before too many more people fall through the cracks.

Broken was written by acclaimed writer Jimmy McGovern, who has brought us some excellent pieces of television on more than one occasion before, and who has also collaborated with Bean before this. Shows that I can recall include Accused and Common, and it’s clear that McGovern has a major talent in bringing us prime time viewing that centres around big contemporary issues, however he also has a knack for not making things too depressing all the time. He well and truly excelled himself here, covering a number of problems faced by the less fortunate in this country right now such as the faults with the welfare system and the lack of provision for mental healthcare on the NHS. McGovern offered so much food for thought with his latest project, and I for one am certainly looking forward to what he brings us next.

That’s it really; I don’t know what more I can add. Broken made a statement on mainstream British TV that was watched by millions at a time when a statement needed to be made. It is essentially a very simple drama done very well, with some very significant people behind it, believing in the message it delivers. I feel as though this review might have done the show a massive injustice, and I can only apologise for that. All I can say is if you haven’t seen Broken yet, whether you live in this country or not, watch it, because I believe it could very well be a reflection of what is going on in many places, and shows exactly why things need to change.


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