Screenwriter Neil Biswas' (Bradford Riots
) adaptation of Martina Cole's novel The Take
, spans 10 years of British socio-political change. The backdrop of the Thatcher era and its transition into the birth of New Labour, is particularly relevant to the drama's theme of idealised new beginnings; stemming from and resulting in a sense of disillusion.
Freddie Jackson (Tom Hardy, Bronson
) leaves prison in 1984, after serving 4 years for bank robbery. His loyal, if unstable, wife Jackie (Kierston Wareing, Rise Of The Footsoldier
) has waited for him on the outside, under the misguided impression that he wants to go straight. Freddie, however, is raring to get back into the game, keen on becoming king of the East End underworld. Cousin Jimmy (Shaun Evans, Boy A
) is hot on his heels and, with time, rises the ranks of the quickly expanding crime empire--eventually eclipsing Freddie himself. He also has something else Freddie covets, Jackie's younger sister Maggie (Charlotte Riley, Wuthering Heights
), and together they have a loving relationship the Jacksons can only dream of. Bitterness and jealously threaten to tear the family apart, as loyalties are brought into question, trusts are betrayed, and violence ensues. In an era of new promises and possibilities, everyone it appears, is on the take.
This four-part hit SKY1 series is now available digitally remastered.
Martina Cole on The Take (11 mins)
Based on the best-selling book by Martina Cole, The Take
follows the story of Freddie Jackson, a man who’s just left prison. And it’s fair to say has no intention of leaving a life of crime behind him. Thanks to the book of contacts he’s accrued while inside, he’s looking to put his newly found knowledge to commercial, and criminal, use.
Played by Tom Hardy, in a strong leading turn, Jackson doesn’t take long to get back to business. The Take lands him a London rife with gang warfare though, and we soon get the impression that this is not a safe place to be. Events start in the mid 1980s, and the narrative of the drama then covers the next decade, and the cultural and political changes that encompasses. And Jackson’s life doesn’t quite go the way he’d envisaged…
Co-starring Brian Cox and Charlotte Riley, The Take packs plenty in over its four instalments, and it doesn’t hold back on portraying just how brutal the London underworld can be. Yet it’s gripping drama, nonetheless, spearheaded by a superb turn from Tom Hardy in the lead role. Granted, it crams too much into four episodes, and often has to gallop through events. Plus, there’s a familiarity to the narrative. But this is a gritty, well-released adaptation of a strong book, and worth seeking out. --Jon Foster