“London and its secrets, and specifically its rain-wrecked river, can’t help but pull us back to ancient darkness.”
This is the setting for The Frankenstein Chronicles which is a clever mix of storylines with an intelligent script and clever performances.
Inspector John Marlott is recruited by Sir Robert Peel to assist in the investigation of a series of crimes in 19th Century London, which may have been committed by a scientist intent on re-animating the dead. He makes a shocking discovery on the banks of the Thames: the body of a dead child is washed up on the shore, but further examination of the corpse reveals a grotesque state of mutilation. Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel orders Marlott to lead the investigation.
He confers with Nightingale, a local policeman who has been keeping watch on “The Fortune of War”, a public house where body snatchers are known to gather. The pair create a plan to capture a person of interest who may be able to aid them with their investigation. Flora, a young street urchin throws herself on Marlott’s mercy. Believing her to be a key witness to a disappearance, he brings her to his lodgings for safety.
As the investigation continues, he travels to Kentish Town to interrogate Mary Shelley the author of Frankenstein. Marlott intends to use Flora as bait for the murderous gang. However, Mary Shelley follows her own line of enquiry into the medical practice of Sir William Chester, uncovering secrets from the past.
Marlott finally pieces together the movements at the hospital, but the number of suspects continue to plague his mind.
Don’t expect a fast-paced mystery here. Told over 6 one-hour episodes, The Frankenstein Chronicles flows at a steady pace, which is as it should. There is a lot to absorb if the viewer is to piece this mystery together. There are so many competent actors in this series that it hard to single out any one. Having said that special mention must be made of Sean Bean who plays Marlott. He is dark, brooding and compelling.
I was interested to see if he could create a new, believable character after his memorable performance as Ned Stark in Game of Thrones. He certainly did and made Marlott his own.
Overall, an intriguing series that leaves you wanting more and fascinated with a period of history that teems with blood.
Reviewed by Barry Hill
Rating out of 10: 8
The Frankenstein Chronicles will be released on DVD and Digital on 16 June 2016.