Last night I cried watching a genuinely important TV drama. It was about domestic violence. I’ve seen sixty-two episodes of Breaking Bad and ten of Game of Thrones, but neither have the emotional punch of BBC3's Murdered by My Boyfriend.
I’m sure that every good person has at some point wondered what they might do if a friend were being abused by their partner. I certainly have. I’ve also had a few conversations about it, most of which highlight the helplessness of the observer. How can you save a friend from a situation if they cannot save themselves? In essence, how can you protect them from a relentless, violent, mentally ill criminal?
Murdered by My Boyfriend tells the true story of a seventeen year old girl who met someone she thought was the man of her dreams. It was written by Regina Moriarty after extensive interviews with the real victim’s friends and family. All names were changed. The exceptionally talented Georgina Campbell stars as Ashley Jones, narrating from beyond the grave; chilling from the outset. Equally talented is Royce Pierreson as the eponymous boyfriend, Reece. Both performances seem so real that when the frequent, inevitable abuse occurs, the authenticity is terrifying.
The great power of this hour-long film is that you know Ashley will, at some point, be murdered by Reece. The big questions are when and how. When the scene finally plays out it is jaw-droppingly brutal. Ashley was well-liked and many people tried to help her, but ultimately she was on her own. The saddest thing was feeling there was no way out for her. Reece is essentially a psychopathic stalker who never backs down - charming when he wants to be, but always dangerously volatile.
The production values are excellent too. Director Paul Andrew Williams carefully guides us through the story of a normal, outgoing woman with friends, a job, a life; all of which are callously torn apart in front of our eyes. Special mention must go to the music. A few choice songs are scattered throughout, most notably for me The Chemical Brothers’ Swoon. The rest is largely unaccompanied, save for pinpricks of a beautifully understated score by Navid Asghari.
Upsettingly, the closing credits reveal the full extent of domestic violence in the UK. I could hardly believe it’s so prevalent. Murdered by My Boyfriend will hopefully highlight this terrible problem and create a new debate over what can be done to combat it. Personally, I would like to praise all involved in this incredible project.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence please click here. The police take domestic violence seriously and will be able to help and protect you. Call 999 in an emergency.