'The Mill - Series One'
(Jamie Draven, Kerrie Hayes, Matthew McNulty, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2014 / BFS Entertainment)
Overview: Based on a powerful true story, 'The Mill' is a four-part drama set in England in 1833, a time when industry is sweeping children as young as nine into the factories and mills to work 12-hour days. Injustice and suppression are the norm, but the world is changing and one feisty young girl takes a stand against the mill owners and their lackeys who rule the children's tired and hungry lives.
DVD Verdict: 'The Mill' is a brilliant and very gritty drama. From the moment that I started watching it I immediately wanted to see it again. It gives you a very unflinching image of life during the Industrial Revolution and how the wealth of Britain at the time was made on the back of grinding hardship and poverty.
The acting in it is second to none and Kerrie Hayes, as well as being gorgeous, plays Esther Price with such conviction that you could almost be forgiven for thinking that you were watching an actual person as opposed to an actor portraying her. When watching it you really get a feeling for how times were beginning to change and how they were beginning to change for the better in some respects.
The main focus of the plot Esther Price's mission to find her true identity is one that makes you really route for her. In the part where she goes looking for her baptism certificate you are sitting there with baited breath for things to work out. The story could be exclusively about her and still be brilliant, it is such good drama.
OK,if there is a problem with the production it's John Fay's script, which is way too politically sensitive and gets too bogged down in trying to show the viewer some of the big political movements of the time while losing focus of the individuals who really matter.
The moment in which an ex-slave is shoehorned into the story to rail against the evils of the slave trade is when this series really lost me, and the final episode never really provides resolution to many of the sub-plots; one main character, played by Kevin McNally, just disappears from the screen! Even some text to explain what happened to each character after the series would have been appreciated.
That said though, as this has to be fair and balance review, after all, the themes of exploitation and slavery and the incredible indifference to it by those that profit from such, and then conveniently shed their morals regarding fellow man makes for riveting viewing. Incredible watching! These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.