Body Count Rising

BBC Radio 4

Killer brandishes knife….squeezes hands tightly around woman’s throat….drags body through woods. This could describe any number of prime-time dramas on British TV.

There are numerous dramas with similar recurring narratives – a little girl abducted and murdered, a teenage girl raped, a wife beaten. Cue sinister music, graphic images, and sometimes overly-sexy portrayals of female victims. But has television culture made the depiction of rape and the ritualistic murder of women into an undesirable industry?

Audiences lap it up, but what does our fascination with glossy, high budget TV series, saturated with the corpses of unfortunate women, say about the society we live in, and the way we view women?

Actor Doon Mackichan examines the trend, speaking to criminal sociologist Ruth Penfold-Mounce; Variety’s TV critic Sonia Saraiya; Allan Cubitt, writer and director of critically-acclaimed series The Fall; playwright Nick Payn; Elaine Collins, Executive Producer of Shetland; and an actor who has twice played a rape victim.

Presenter: Doon Mackichan
Producer: Gemma Newby
A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4.