Craven, created by Amelia Bullmore, written by Michelle Lipton

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15-Minute Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 10-14 February 2014
Another in the series involving the no-nonsense, Manchester based detective (Maxine Peake) and her team, spearheaded by DI Terry Bird (David Crelin).
The companies making these kind of dramas for Radio 4 (as well as the in-house directors) do them extremely well.  The plots are brisk, well-constructed, with a minimum of fuss: unlike their television equivalents, little time is spent on scene-setting dialogue or miscellaneous sub-plots.  Our attention focuses on the protagonist - in this case, DCI Craven - and her single-minded desire to solve the case while managing her unorthodox private life.
In this series, however, the subject-matter was both up-to-the-minute and highly disturbing.  Florence Henderson, a fifteen-year-old girl (Darcy Isa), who had established something of a reputation for herself on the internet, had been found hanged; it later transpired that she had committed suicide.  It later emerged that she had been goaded into this decision by internet trolls posting threatening messages about her personal life and burgeoning career.  Craven not only had to investigate a case of cyber-crime, but had to spread her net far and wide beyond the Manchester area.
Director/producer Justine Potter handled the material extremely sensitively; while trying to give us an insight into the warped minds of those who would post such information, she also focused our attention on the girl's father Mark (Mark Jordon) and how he coped - or did not cope - with the experience of his daughter's death.  The series concluded with a personal plea from Mark, urging all parents - especially those listening to the programme - to be vigilant with their offspring's use of the internet.
For me, the programme offered a chilling reminder of how apparently normal people often have abnormal private lives.  We have to look at everyone closely and try to read the signs; to discover if we can when something is wrong and act upon it.