Zara McDermott: Uncovering Rape Culture
You could tell things were getting difficult because the waves crashed in an atmospheric sort of a way, and the clouds looked dark and moody. This was Shetland (BBC1) of course, and in the final episode of the latest series we finally discovered who killed the lawyer Alex Galbraith.
If you have been following the many twists and turns, you might have been a little disappointed. After all that, it was a domestic. Mrs Galbraith shot her husband because he was going to reveal his part in a young woman’s death by drug overdose at a party 20 years ago, and in burying her body in secret.
The scandal would have harmed her career in local politics. It didn’t help that Mr G might also have been having an affair with a nun.
Douglas Henshall is excellent as brooding, irascible Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Kurt Wallander. Both men have fathers who are suffering from dementia (it was Mr Perez senior who inadvertently gave his son a vital clue).
Douglas Henshall is excellent as brooding DI Jimmy Perez
Both men are inclined to stretch the rules: at one point, DI Perez took a suspect up to the moors, where he thought the body of Marie Ann Ross was hidden after her death. ‘Where is she?’ he barks.
‘You’re standing on her,’ says the suspect.
And both men like staring out to sea when the going gets tough. Is there another detective series in which so many interviews or crucial encounters are accompanied by the sound of waves crashing on beaches? Or it is just a Shetland thing?
DI Perez had barely wrapped up the Galbraith case when he was arrested on suspicion of covering up an assisted suicide. Which means there is definitely going to be another series: cue more crashing waves and threatening skies.
CONFESSION OF THE WEEK:
In last night’s Universe (BBC2), Professor Brian Cox discussed black holes and admitted: ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about — and nobody else does either.’ Given the fearsome power of black holes, this was not entirely reassuring.
In Uncovering Rape Culture (BBC1), former Love Island contestant Zara McDermott recalled walking through a London park one afternoon about four years ago, when she noticed she was being followed by a freckle-faced schoolboy. She was about 20 at the time.
Suddenly he grabbed her from behind, pushed her up against the fence, and explained what he planned to do in words so graphic that I couldn’t possibly repeat them here. You probably get the idea, though. Her attacker fled after passers-by intervened, but he was never caught.
This documentary was shocking but probably not that surprising. It was certainly uncomfortable viewing, and a powerful advertisement for single-sex schools. Girls as young as 13 reported how their male schoolmates tried to look up their skirts, and how they’d been pestered for naked photographs.
Boys were reluctant to talk, perhaps through fear of how they would be portrayed on TV. They clearly know more about how the media works than how to treat their female classmates. But Zara did persuade boys and girls from one London school to sit together in a park and discuss the issue. ‘We need to educate ourselves,’ said one young man. ‘The best thing to do that is by talking to you lot.
‘Nowadays everything is so sensitive — the boys don’t know what to say, what is right and what is wrong.’
It felt like a breakthrough moment, but how sad that it needed the BBC to start this conversation. By the way, boys, if you really want to know how to treat girls with more respect, you could start by not referring to them as ‘you lot’.