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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant conspiracy mini-series
The brilliant four part Channel 4 mini-series Secret State is well worth a look. A remake of a 1988 TV mini series A Very British Coup Secret State manages to do what conspiracy thrillers should do i.e. thrill and keep you gripped.

To be honest I have done a little research about the reactions of others on the internet of all places to see what other people...
Published 20 months ago by ekb

versus
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent until the last 5 mins.....
Episode one had me hooked and so involved with what I was watching, when I turned the channel over to BBC News, it took me a few seconds to realise that it was real news, and not the dramatic one from Secret State! It gripped me through the next three episodes right up until the last moment, which I rewound and watched again, and again, and I still don't have a clue what...
Published 20 months ago by J. Hayden


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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant conspiracy mini-series, 29 Nov 2012
This review is from: Secret State [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
The brilliant four part Channel 4 mini-series Secret State is well worth a look. A remake of a 1988 TV mini series A Very British Coup Secret State manages to do what conspiracy thrillers should do i.e. thrill and keep you gripped.

To be honest I have done a little research about the reactions of others on the internet of all places to see what other people think of the show. I decided to check the legitimate reviewers opinions out of curiosity and aparently they are none too thrilled at this conspiracy thriller citing a lack of 'realism' and aparently the premise is 'ludicrous' and the 'show is out of touch with what is important currently'. Really? Really? With all due respect to these comments what ever happened to a little escapism, you know a show with a nice twisty plot with a conspiracy between a few supervillians. But the critics complain that it is not as good as Homeland; well of course it is not but it is one great enjoyable piece of television none the less.

Gabriel Byrne might play one of the most ludicrous unrealistic characters of all time; a noble politician who manages to become PM but man did I root for him.

Like all good conspiracy thrillers you are gripped and genuinely interested in how it will all end.

Oh and just one more thing that makes this show great; have you checked the cast. Just plain awesome.

You might have noticed that this so called review doesn't mention one single plot detail, well I noticed that after one episode that they had a next time on feature. Watched it and lets say they gave away too much. Really to enjoy twisty little thrillers like this it is best to know as little as possible about the plot so you can concentrate on figureing the plot out and get it wrong along the way.

Yes, the show might be a little unrealistic but why should this matter when the plot keeps you gripped and the cast is this good. Plus I really would like to see more programmes like this on TV considering the last programme I seen that was this good was The State Within (come to think of it the plots are really really similar). If you liked The State Within then you should like this and vice versa. Brilliantly gripping television.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secret State, 26 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Secret State [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
Gabriel Byrne completely lived up to my expectations and was brilliant. I thought the series was very well adapted from the book especially because it updated the circumstances to include situations which have come to light since the book was written. Yet another excellent BBC series.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 29 Nov 2012
By 
J. A. Withers - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Secret State [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
This is the best thing I've seen on television for ages. Kept me gripped and desperate for the next episode...my only criticism was that the ending was a trifle sudden and left me wanting more. For anybody who missed it or who would like to watch again, well worth buying.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Defence of the Realm, 14 Dec 2012
This review is from: Secret State [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
In Ed Fraiman's latest adaptation of former MP Chris Mullin's political novel, A Very British Coup, conspiracy certainly isn't what it used to be. Back in the 1980s, under its original title, the brilliant Ray McAnally played Harry Perkins in Alan Plater's excellent version, parading a cautionary tale about radical values and what happens to them once you're in power and the men from the ministry get a hold of you. Plater's version had an international context involving the concerns of the day, not least American nuclear missiles on British soil, and this newly rebooted 21st Century story carries that a step further by putting the villainous cast of the 'war on terror' age - multinationals, rogue Middle-Eastern regimes, military chiefs of staff - firmly in the spotlight. But back in the day, the original drama sat side-by-side with other mini-series like Edge of Darkness, Harry's Game and House of Cards while films like Defence of the Realm - which Byrne starred in during the 1980s - The Whistle Blower and then later Hidden Agenda, not only gripped but opened up possibilities about the British state apparatus that wider society, let alone TV/film culture, hadn't dared contemplate before.

This new take on the dark corridors of Westminster is fine, mind you. Gabriel Byrne plays loyal party apparatchik Tom Dawson with a steely-eyed determination, Douglas Hodge is terrific as a drunk and gone-off-the-rails computer hacker and fixer, while Charles Dance could win BAFTAs simply for the way he unbuttons his suit jacket and gives that look of his. But it's an odd 24hr news cycle world that hasn't spotted the PM turning up rather too frequently at the local Drum and Monkey boozer to have a pint with former colleague Fossett, as Dawson seems to do endlessly here, while there doesn't appear to be a single person in London who hasn't got his mobile phone number! Gina McKee's determined reporter Ellis Kane seems to have a front door key to No.10 she's there so often, and Rupert Graves - who's a terrific actor - is handed a role here that gives off all the gravitas of a man who thinks he should be head of the local comprehensive's Sixth Form, but appears to have stumbled into the job of Chancellor of the Exchequer! It adds up to a lot of fun; Manchester Town Hall shows up as the inside of Westminster brilliantly, Ruth Negga is genuinely great as out-of-her-depth GCHQist Agnes Evans, and Mullins himself even appears as a vicar to top it all off.

But the world has moved on from the 1980s and so have we probably as a watching public. Secret State pushes all the familiar buttons of 21st Century secrecy and cover-up, and does it very nicely. But it's so familiar to us now, the power of this kind of TV has lost a little of its bite in a political culture where Fahrenheit 9/11, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and Inside Job are documentaries, but ones offering up all the drama of real events in an elite, establishment world that long ago lost much of its grip on reality.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant drama, 27 Jan 2013
By 
L. Griffiths (South Wales UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Secret State [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
I watched this drama on tv and found it gripping, keeping you guessing until the end. I purchased the DVD as a gift for a relative who lives in the US and misses UK shows.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story, 25 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Secret State [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
I bought this dvd for my husband who gets through dvd's like their going out of fashion. He loved this dvd and said the story was really gripping.
Worth buying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret State, 21 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Secret State [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
Good story with an excellent performance by Gabriel Byrme and supporting cast. I liked the unexpected ending and all that it implied
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent until the last 5 mins....., 1 Dec 2012
By 
J. Hayden (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Secret State [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
Episode one had me hooked and so involved with what I was watching, when I turned the channel over to BBC News, it took me a few seconds to realise that it was real news, and not the dramatic one from Secret State! It gripped me through the next three episodes right up until the last moment, which I rewound and watched again, and again, and I still don't have a clue what happened (and not asking on here, no spoilers...) But it was a major let down for me. Marmite TV, some will love it, those like me who still lost about the ending will rate it lower.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Taut Evocative and Topical Political Thriller, 18 July 2014
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Secret State [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
SECRET STATE. This all-star British political thriller, a television series, received its premier on DirecTV in November 2013. A major industrial accident kills 19 people in Teesside, the north of England. Deputy Prime Minister Tom Dawkins (Golden Globe® winner Gabriel Byrne, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, IN TREATMENT) is tasked with investigating the accident and seeking justice for the victims' families. As the contemporary production explores the relationship between a democratically elected government, big business and the banks, Dawkins takes on a giant American petrochemical corporation; eventually his own government, to uncover the truth. This contemporary boasts a strong supporting cast including Charles Dance (GAME OF THRONES) as reptilian chief whip of the party, John Hodder; Rupert Graves (SHERLOCK) as Dawkins' colleague/competitor, Felix Durrell, a smooth politican and Chancellor of the Exchequer; and Gina McKee (THE FORSYTE SAGA, NOTTING HILL,THE BORGIAS) as Ellis Kane, a tough questing journalist. The series was written by former British journalist Chris Mullin, based on his own novel A VERY BRITISH COUP. The entertainment is not rated, but there is some coarse language. There
are also, thank goodness, subtitles, for who would want to miss any of this quick paced witty dialog. I received this as a review copy.

Byrne and Dance are two more fine examples of how well some British leading men are able to age into actors with sufficient presence and gravitas as to be able to carry a picture, any picture. Their two-handed exchanges are arresting. Other well-known faces in the cast include Tony ® winner Stephen Dillane (THE HOURS) as Paul J. Clark, chief of the chemical company; Nicholas Ferrell as General Munnery; Anton Lesser as banker Sir Michael Rix and Sylvestra Le Touzel as Ros Yelland, Secretary of State, another of Dawkins' colleagues/competitors. The episodes are:

Disc 1

Episode 1
On top of the huge deadly explosion in Teesside, the Prime Minister's plane shockingly goes missing, Deputy Prime Minister Dawkins is left to pick up the pieces amidst the growing public scandal. While he is dealing with the crisis, Dawkins is pressured by Chief Whip Hodder to run for Prime Minister.

Episode 2
After a bruising three-way struggle for the job, newly elected Prime Minister Dawkins vows to uncover the truth behind the explosion, to bring justice to its victims and to push for an explanation of the former Prime Minister's plane crash. Meanwhile, MI 6 employee Agnes Evans decides to circumvent her coworkers when they discount her alternate explanation for the former PM's plane crash.

Disc 2

Episode 3
Amidst the threat of nationwide chaos and impending war, Tom gives the Texas-based petrochemical company that is responsible for the Northern England accident, and owned the plane on which the PM died, an ultimatum by freezing their assets. Meanwhile unseemly details of Tom's military past are brought to light by journalist Ellis Kane.

Episode 4
His colleagues become aware of his past: Tom must consider the best way to address the matter in public. Matters become even more complicated as more details about the plane crash emerge. While its government contemplates what actions to take, the country waits on Dawkins.

Never read the underlying Mullins novel, but have watched and reviewed the 1988 A VERY BRITISH COUP, its previous television treatment: this review may be found on its website. I admired a towering performance by Ray McAnally, one of his last, but the production repeatedly put me to sleep. You might say it was dull. Be that as it may, it can be considered the progenitor of the HOUSE OF CARDS trilogy, currently successful in two iterations. It must also be considered the direct progenitor of Sally Wainwright's unfortunately meretricious 2006 fantasy, THE AMAZING MRS. PRITCHARD.

However, dull is the last word I'd use to describe this newly imagined series, SECRET STATE, that actually seems to end where the original began. Mind you, I have a pet peeve against novels or scripts that rely on malfeasance in high government, or Texas-based petrochemical companies as villains; yet I found SECRET STATE extremely evocative, topical taut and gripping. In this house, we were hooked from the first minutes of the show, and binge-watched all four episodes at a sitting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLOWS THE LID OFF !, 3 April 2014
This review is from: Secret State (DVD)
Many believe politics and politicans are rotten to the core. This mini-series confirms the theory and brings into the circle, Bankers, Businessmen and the media. This could well go down as one of the best political thrillers of all time BUT the viewer needs to pay rapt attention as the plot twists and turns throughout and the ending is superb. Well done to all involved
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Secret State [DVD] [2012]
Secret State [DVD] [2012] by Gabriel Byrne (DVD - 2012)
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