Craven by Amelia Bullmore

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15-Minute Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 19-23 March 2012, Radio 4 Extra, 24 March 2012
A second series for the Manchester-based detective Sue Craven (Maxine Peake). This story involved a complicated tale of dangerous drugs and dogs, set against a background of impending cuts that threatened the future of Craven's boss DCI Price (James Quinn), and her colleague, dog-lover Terry Bird (David Crellin).
Set against a background of increasing financial difficulty for the police force, Justine Potter's production told a tale of dogged persistence in the face of adversity - despitte the repeated suggestion that she should abandon the case on financial grounds, Craven stuck to her guns. Her first-person narrative disclosed her desire to see the case resolved, irrespective of the costs; what mattered more was to see that justice should be done, and the miscreants put behind bars. Craven was prepared to go to any lengths to achieve her ends, even sleeping with her esrtwhile lover-cum-colleague Macca (Jack Dearn), so as to find out more about drug-dealers in the local area, and what their practice involved.
As with all good police dramas, the plot of Craven unfolded gradually, with details being revealed episode by episode, so as to sustain the listeners' interest. I admired Peake's Craven; the kind of police officer who understood the strains her superiors experienced, as they tried to maintain a workable police service despite the financial hardships involved, yet believed above all that justice should be done, even if it meant countermanding her superiors' wishes. I don't want to call her a 'maverick' cop; just the kind of person with an old-fashioned belief in right and wrong, with the kind of terrier-like dedication to ensure her objectives were accomplished.
In dramatic terms, Craven was cleverly structured, each episode building upon the previous one to create an uncompromising portrait of life in the contemporary inner city, and how law-enforcement officers struggle to maintain their authority in an uncompromising environment.