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Bouquet of Barbed Wire - (DVD) Review

A Bouquet of Barbed Wire

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

WHEN Andrea Newman’s Bouquet of Barbed Wire first aired in 1976 it caused quite a stir, not least for its depiction of a father’s obsessive and incestuous love for his teenage daughter. But times have changed and the reworking of this psychological thriller no longer has the same power to shock. That doesn’t, however, mean it isn’t good because it most certainly is.

The story begins in the present, with Peter Manson (Trevor Eve) rushing to the site of a road traffic accident, where we see him peering horrified into the wreckage of an overturned car. Cue: turn back time and view the events leading up to the crash….

What soon becomes obvious is the nature of Manson’s love for his daughter Prue (Imogen Poots) and when her English teacher/boyfriend announces that Prue is expecting his child, all hell breaks loose. But worse is to follow, for against her parent’s wishes Prue marries her lover and the two set up home in his run-down flat.

Stepping into the capable shoes of Frank Finlay and Susan Penhaligon, the original father and daughter, was never going to be easy but both Eve and Poots manage to stamp their authority on the roles, quickly making them their own.

Eve, in particular, shines as the father tormented by visions of his daughter with another man. By turn angry, baffled and grief-stricken, his descent into madness makes harrowing viewing. But Peter isn’t all he seems, as son-in-law Gavin (Tom Riley) knows only too well.

Riley brings a tangible menace to the role, his Gavin adeptly turning the tables so that our sympathies eventually lie not with Peter but with him. For, if we’re truly honest, who amongst us wouldn’t want to avenge a wrong done to a loved one, particularly if it had such devastating consequences. Of course that doesn’t make it right because inevitably innocent by-standers like Prue become as much a victim as the intended target.

Which brings me to Cassie, Prue’s mother, whose marriage to Peter is severely tested by the on-going events. In Hermione Norris’ hands, Cassie is sophisticated and intelligent but seemingly unemotional – all the more satisfying then, when she breaks the mould and screams at Peter like the proverbial fishwife.

But what kind of mother betrays her daughter by sleeping with her husband? One I suspect, who is only too well aware of her own husband’s true feelings for his daughter – something that is only fleetingly evident and on just the one occasion. However, there can be no mistaking it.

There’s also fine support from Jemima Rooper as Peter’s new employee Sarah, to whom he turns for affection.

Diehard fans of the original series will no doubt be disappointed, particularly as certain liberties have been taken with the storyline. Nevertheless, the essence remains the same, making Bouquet of Barbed Wire as compulsive viewing in 2010 as is was back in 1976.

Read our review of the first episode

Certificate: 15
Episodes: 3/Discs 2
UK DVD Release: September 20, 2010

  1. I did not enjoy this remake of “Bouquet of Barbed Wire”. I found Trevor Eve irritating as Prue’s father. I found him to be wooden and unattractive. The whole thing to me was boring. Original was a great TV programme but now ruined. Kept waiting for it to get better but it didn’t!

    Poshpot    Sep 21    #