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THE GALLOWS POLE – BBC TV DRAMA SERIES (2023)

Link: Review of GOAT soundtrack album “The Gallows Pole”


The long opening scene is part mythology, the music of GOAT (see music review) fitting well. The settings are sufficiently barren and the conditions of life so degraded that it casts a dark shadow on our history. In fact, the three episodes all take place in the one village and surrounding area.


The pace of the drama is an issue, with long drawn scenes, and unnecessarily extended dialogue.


What does shine through is the indomitable spirit of the community despite their desperate circumstances. The coming together in the pub after the funeral gives a real sense of how low people’s expectations were back then and how easily satisfied, and grateful they were for small mercies; no fists are raised towards God in Heaven, even injustice and being reduced to a pitiable existence seem accepted as part of God’s plan.


The people seem puzzled about what has happened to them and their sudden lack of relevance in a mechanised world. The prospect of going to Halifax to seek work seems a worse one than staying where they are in a crumbling village with little food or resources.


I wasn’t expecting a tragi-comedic drama after the sombre first episode. No spoilers so I can’t say anything much about the story line, except that it just seems to fizzle out, and ultimately the title and dark messages proved misleading, as everything happens within claustrophobic surroundings. The solution to the village’s troubles seems trite to say the least. However, the series does have a haunting quality and there are some strong individual performances.


As for the soundtrack, some of GOAT’s music was used but not much as it only fitted neatly to the scenes involving the stag men and the hero David’s “diabolic visions”, and there was other music like GROUNDHOG’s ‘Cherry Red’ and THE STRANGLERS ‘Peaches.’ The strains of an unlikely ‘hit’ for GOAT to incongruous psychedelic dancing play us out, in what was overall a pretty weird and disappointing drama.

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