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Gangs of London director explains complex truth behind episode 6 torture scene

Turns out there was a hidden meaning in the cruelty dealt out by Marian Wallace

Published: Friday, 15th May 2020 at 10:54 am

Watching Sky’s spectacular Gangs of London? Then you may some questions about those torture scenes.


In episode six of the crime drama, the Wallace family – centre of the capital's underworld for decades – is forced into hiding, taking refuge in a safe house. But they’re not alone: the remaining members of the family are locked down with Tove (Laura Bach), a woman hired to kill Sean Wallace (Joe Cole).

Who hired her? It’s down to Marian Wallace (Michelle Fairley) to get that information, by any means. Cue: some very gruesome torture scenes.

However, according to Xavier Gens, director of the episode, there’s a hidden reason why Marian was so cruel in the episode.

“For Marian Wallace it’s about her frustration at the betrayal she felt over Finn [Colm Meaney] wanting to live with another woman – her husband cheating on her,” he explained to Den of Geek.

“She was one of the main pillars of the Wallace family, and so really when she’s torturing Tove, she is torturing Finn Wallace. She sees Finn in that woman. I really wanted to figure out how I could express that Lady Macbeth figure into the character of Marian Wallace.”

Gens also revealed that Fairley made the choice of paring back dialogue she could express with her eyes in the scene.

“She has such a strong look,” Gens said. "You feel all the frustration of the mother who has lost control of her son. I had goosebumps at this moment. You follow her lead. You follow her pacing, the rhythm she brings on set, and it really makes my job easy, to be honest.”

The series recently become Sky Atlantic’s most-watched original show this year, with over 2.23 million viewers having tuned into the opening episode. The record-breaking ratings also make the nine-part drama Sky Atlantic’s second-biggest original drama ever, with only 2019 hit Chernobyl ahead.

You can sign up to Sky TV here for access to Gangs of London. If you are a Sky TV customer, you can download the whole series of Gangs of London to your box now.

Alternatively, you can tune in to Sky Atlantic on Thursdays at 9pm to watch the show in weekly instalments.


You can also watch Gangs of London with NOW TV’s Entertainment Pass. Sign up for a seven-day free trial here.


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