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Deadwater Fell offers a "unique" female perspective in crime drama, says Channel 4

Women filled many of the top roles during production on the Channel 4 series

Published: Friday, 10th January 2020 at 8:45 am

The production team behind David Tennant's new crime drama series Deadwater Fell was comprised mostly of women, which is said to give it a "unique perspective" in the genre.


Tennant stars as a man who falls under suspicion of killing his family in a house fire from which he is the only survivor.

The series was written by Daisy Coulam (Grantchester) and directed by Lynsey Miller, as well as being the first commission from Channel 4's Head of Drama Caroline Hollick.

Hollick said: "In an industry where women still sometimes feel excluded and sidelined, this is a show that is written by a woman, directed by a woman, produced by women, commissioned by women, and I think that really shows in the unique perspective of this show in a genre that can often feel quite relentlessly masculine."

The friendship between the two female leads Kate (Anna Madeley) and Jess (Cush Jumbo) is a key focus for the series, although many of their scenes are flashbacks as Kate is killed off early in the first episode.

Anna Madeley and Cush Jumbo in Deadwater Fell
Anna Madeley and Cush Jumbo in Deadwater Fell

Some viewers see the death of a character's wife to be an overused cliche in crime dramas, but writer Daisy Coulam has implied that there was a legitimate story reason for doing so in the case of Deadwater Fell.

When questioned about what exactly, she told "Ask me again at the end of episode four, you'll be like 'oh okay.'"

The series explores both the events leading up to Kate's death and the devastating aftermath, with Jess a key figure in finding out what happened to her late friend.

Star David Tennant has also spoken to about the effect of having a strong female presence while working on Deadwater Fell.

He said: "I dare say, the fact that so many of the creatives were women was a huge plus. Especially when you’re telling a story that’s quite sensitive like this, I think there are nuances to this and maybe that’s – one doesn’t want to gender stereotype – but maybe there’s an emotional nuance that would have been lost in male hands."

He continued: "If I have any say in it, I always like there to be a gender split on set because it makes people work better actually. I think a bunch of blokes can become a bit of an echo chamber, but increasingly that is the case. It’s quite rare now that you find a completely male set, it’s sort of common sense really."


Deadwater Fell airs on Channel 4 on Friday 10th January


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