Southcliffe: Miniseries (2013)


Miniseries
Southcliffe

Critics Consensus

While Southcliffe's meticulously-crafted drama is at times more admirable than entertaining, it's grounded by exceptional performances and a strong sense of place.

86%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 14

50%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7

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Episodes

A small tight-knit community is devastated when a deranged killer goes on a shooting spree in this drama, which begins with residents waking up to discover the inconceivable horror that has devastated their town and changed their lives forever.

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The days leading up to the shooting in Southcliffe are recalled. While new father Paul barely hides his affair with a much younger woman from his loyal wife, social worker Claire deals with pressures at home as she and her husband Andrew worry about the void that will be left when their only child travels overseas. Back in the present, reporter David is haunted by childhood memories and overwhelmed by feelings of resentment towards the grieving community he used to call home.

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Those who lost loved ones struggle with their grief, including Claire who cannot accept her daughter's death. Meanwhile, Paul is desperate to compensate for being a bad husband and father, but his efforts may be too little, too late; and David becomes so obsessed with figuring out why Morton would cause so much pain and suffering that he puts his marriage and job at risk.

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In the finale, David receives an anonymous letter one year after the shootings, causing him to worry that Morton is still alive and returning to Southcliffe. As David makes his way back to his hometown, a run-in with a mentally unstable Chris leaves him shaken. Meanwhile, Andrew tries to save Claire from spiraling into despair.

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Southcliffe: Miniseries Photos

Tv Season Info

A small town is devastated when a deranged killer goes on a shooting spree.

Critic Reviews for Southcliffe Miniseries

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (8)

The performances are consistently vivid, the violence, focus and style intense and elevated by a perfect balance of near-journalistic remove, impressionism and fully-earned emotional heft. Trust us, it's worth your time.

Apr 12, 2019 | Full Review…

They gave an amazing cast the means to connect viscerally with audiences and allow the raw emotion of the story to do the work, all the way to its bleakly resigned close.

Apr 12, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Southcliffe was an exercise in poise and pacing, skipping backwards and forwards in time, ramping up tension as we moved inexorably towards the dire outcome.

Apr 12, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It might not be the cheeriest TV, but as far as bleakness goes, this is rare and brilliant Sunday-night viewing.

Apr 12, 2019 | Full Review…

The consistently excellent and emotionally forceful performances aside, perhaps Durkin's greatest achievement here is a magnificently doomy sense of place.

Apr 12, 2019 | Full Review…

Southcliffe is plainly reaching for the nuanced, novelistic, noir-ish heights of multicharacter dramas like The Killing or The Wire.

Apr 12, 2019 | Full Review…

In all it's a tragic waste of an astoundingly powerful beginning that simply didn't know when or how to stop.

Apr 12, 2019 | Full Review…

Southcliffe is the best British programme I have seen in a long time, it is daring, dark and artistic in a way that many writers would fear to replicate or even endure for their screenplays.

Apr 19, 2019 | Full Review…

It's 50 minutes of harrowing television. Brilliant television, but harrowing. Not one to watch if you're having a bad day.

Apr 19, 2019 | Full Review…

Southcliffe's only redeeming story element came in its closing scenes, when that doomed hand-over appeared to have been averted. Scant consolation, strong drama.

Apr 12, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

While Southcliffe's execution...is easy to admire, its value is less clear. Perhaps witnessing suffering at those levels is medicinal and cathartic, a cleansing grief enema. Perhaps not. Either way, it's not an experience I'm in any rush to repeat.

Apr 12, 2019 | Full Review…

Grisoni and Durkin are incredibly reliable pair of hands. Durkin brings his own brand of slow, uneasy brooding tension and unease while Grisoni's talent as a screenwriter precedes him.

Apr 12, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Southcliffe: Miniseries

  • Sep 02, 2017
    A bereft husband walks along the bank of a river until he comes to his wife curled on the ground, crying for their deceased daughter. He doesn't run to his wife. Instead, he only picks up his pace slightly as he takes off his coat and puts it over her crumpled body. He helps her up and looks over the marsh as a gentle wind blows the reedy grasses haphazardly about. "I'll take you home," he says. "Okay? I'll take you home." The husband's gesture is rooted in futility and pain, beauty and kindness. As Thomas Wolfe once wrote, "You can never go home again." This is particularly true when you live in Southcliffe--a quaint but provincial town set in gloomy, fictional England. A lone gunman has gone on a killing spree, murdering a number of community members without ceremony or fanfare. One neighbor is working in her garden. There are no witness to her murder. Only a single bullet from afar. The husband and wife crying along the river bank are just two more of town's victim-survivors, grappling to come to terms with what's left of their life. The mass shooting and the murder of their daughter took place more than a year ago when the scene is presented. You can never go home again. This is how the four-part miniseries unwinds for its viewers. It is a slow and patient drama that jumps from past to present and back again. It is a masterpiece of pace and elliptical pauses. The acting is heart-wrenching and brilliant. The script soars with unadorned language in which some of the most vicious and touching lines unfold in the spaces between words. For T.V. Journalist David Whithead (Rory Kinear), who has been sent back to his hometown to cover the unfolding tragedy, Thomas Wolfe's famous quote means something entirely different. As a boy growing up in Southcliffe, he was routinely bullied by the townsfolk in the wake of his father's sudden and unexpected death. He knows Southcliffe to a brutal and unforgiving place wrapped in the niceties of dishonesty and pretense. Yet, at the command of his manager, return he must. In the year that follows, we watch him--and several others in the community--struggle with the tragedy's psycho-emotional aftermath: Were the shootings really random? Did we, as a community, do something to deserve them? The husband's gesture to take his wife back to their home is beautiful and kind--not because things are going to be any better when they walk through the front door--but rather because the husband is committed to suffering eternally with his wife and the town of Southcliffe.
  • Aug 22, 2017
    Brilliant performances completed undermined by terrible writing and the worst production sound mixing I've ever heard.

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