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4.4 out of 5 stars45
4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 June 2014
What an excellent production! Apart from providing a credible explanation of Lucan's disappearance, an unsolved mystery since 1974, when Lord Lucan disappeared, it provides a fascinating picture of a thoroughly dissolute sector of upper-crust society.
The story opens In 2003 when author John Pearson interviewed John Burke and Susie Maxwell-Scott, because he was writing a book called 'The Gamblers'. The Clermont Club was a casino in Mayfair run by the ruthless John Aspinall and Pearson centres his research on events there thirty years earlier. Lord Lucan, also called John Bingham, constantly loses money there and is given the ironic nickname 'Lucky' as a result. When Lucan's wife, Veronica, protests at the financial problems he is causing, he responds with contemptuous anger and violence. Aspinall advises him to create the impression that she is an unfit mother so that he can divorce her and get custody of the children. When his strategy fails, Lucan plots to murder Veronica but kills Sandra accidentally. Aspinall persuades other club members to close ranks to help the fugitive.
The rest of the story shows the terrible consequences of this action, especially for Dominic Elwes and for Lucan himself. It is fascinating stuff. Beautifully scripted and acted, this is well-worth watching.
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on 18 January 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this drama on the events that led to the disappearance of Lord Lucan.Lucky it seems was an addicted gambler who was spending his inheritance like water,his poor wife was abused and he even tried to have her comitted to an asylum.They separated and she took custody of the children.Then came that fateful night and the murder of Sandra Rivett,his disappearance sparking a media frenzy which totally over shadowed the murder of Sandra.This drama gives likey conclusions to what may have happened after ,very good performances from all the cast.
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on 6 February 2014
Mostly based on fact, statements and newspaper cuttings from the time, this is an extremely well acted drama with a few added scenes and characters to bump it up a bit. I believe it still evokes feelings about the situation. Gives a good insight into how the upper crust people close ranks on the true victim. On Amazon its says the running time is 180 minutes when it is states on the DVD case it 129 minutes, hence Amazon's notice about reviewing the product.
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on 27 October 2014
There are seemingly a few staple stories that certain British Tabloids churn out every few years and one about Lord Lucan is usually up there. What ever happened to him and was he guilty of murder? A star clad ITV drama explored what made the man and suggests a chain of events that may have happened. Told via a series of interviews with the people involved; the drama flashbacks to the 60s and 70s and different perspectives on the man. Lucan is played brilliantly by Rory Kinnear, quickly becoming one of Britain’s best character actors, but the show also has roles for the likes of Christopher Eccleston as a smarmy friend who may have just pushed Lucan towards murder.

It is hard to determine how realistic ‘Lucan’ is as the feature length drama only offers around 130 minutes to explore a very complex situation. It does appear from the drama that more is known than we have been told, but as this is fiction you cannot place too much trust in it. Therefore, it has to be seen as a piece of drama and in this context it works well in places, but not so well in others. As mentioned, the acting is great. It is some of the direction and editing that failed the show. Leaping backwards and forwards is never easy to do and it feels a little haphazard here. At times you get the sense that events are there to meet the dramatic needs of the show and perhaps not stay true to the story it is based on.

The show also felt like it could have been made into a larger production with a higher budget. The glamour of the era was present, but a little underplayed with some of the sets being reused too often. In the end, this was a solid drama that felt a little grubby in places. In part this is down to the fact that Lucan is not a nice chap, but also because it felt a little underfunded and unrefined.
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on 19 April 2014
I do remember the fuss over the disappearance of Lord Lucan and the various theories as to what happened to him. This dramatisation help in providing an insight into the life style he frequented and the circle of friends / acquaintances who could have sheltered, assisted him. Great cast and acting, and credit to the production team for giving us the feel of the period with the power cuts etc. The ending I could accept, but whether in time the truth will ever come out is the 64 Thousand dollar question, the production carefully avoids.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 December 2015
“Lucan” is a crime drama (based on a true story) that was aired on British television (ITV) in 2013 and released on DVD in 2014. There are two episodes here. Each episode runs for 65 minutes. Thus the total running time is 130 minutes or 2 hours and 10 minutes. Here is some basic information about it:

** Directed by Adrian Shergold
** Screenplay written by Jeff Pope
** Based on the book The Gamblers by John Pearson (2005, 2007)

This is the story of John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, aka Lord Lucan, who was born in 1934; a crisis in his family in 1974; a murder that he was suspected of having committed; and his mysterious disappearance after the murder.

There are two story-lines here. The first is set in 2003; we can call this the present. Author John Pearson is working on a book about the case. He is trying to find out what happened, who did what, and who said what. He is talking to some old persons, who were close to the events in the 1970s.

The second story-line is set in the past. There is a brief moment in 1958, another brief moment in 1962, but most of this story-line takes place in 1973, 1974, and 1975. The film flips back and forth between the two story-lines, between the past and the present.

Two characters appear in both story-lines. But it is difficult to spot them, because the list of characters is quite long, and the characters are not always identified by name. You may have to watch this drama more than once to find out exactly who is who.

The cast includes the following:

** Lord Lucan (born 1934) – played by Rory Kinnear
** Veronica Lucan - Lord Lucan’s wife – played by Catherine McCormack
** The old John Burke (1923-2011) - played by Michael Gambon
** The young John Burke – Aspinall’s accountant – played by Rufus Wright

** John “Aspers” Aspinall (1926-2000) – played by Christopher Eccleston
** The old Susan “Susie” Maxwell-Scott (1936-2004) – played by Jane Lapotaire
** The young Susan “Susie” Maxwell-Scott – played by Helen Bradbury
** Ian Maxwell-Scott (1927-1993) – Susie’s husband - played by Alan Cox

** Author John Pearson (born 1930) – played by Paul Freeman
** The Dowager Countess - Lord Lucan’s mother – played by Gemma Jones
** Lady Osborne – played by Ann Bell
** Sandra Rivett (1945-1974) – Veronica’s nanny – played by Leanne Best

** Dominick Elwes (1931-1975) – a painter – played by Rupert Evans
** James “Jimmy” Goldsmith (1933-1997) – played by Alistair Petrie
** Christina Shand-Kydd - Veronica’s sister - played by Claudia Harrison
** Bill Shand-Kydd (1937-2014) – Christina’s husband - played by Andrew Woodall

John Bingham, aka Lord Lucan, was born in 1934. In 1963 he married Veronica. They had three children, but the marriage was not a happy one. He was a professional gambler. He was a member of Aspinall’s club the Clermont.

At first he won, and he was given the nickname “Lucky,” but soon he started to lose, much more than he could afford, and his nickname became more and more ironic. Veronica complained that he was losing money that was urgently needed for the family.

In 1973, the couple separated. Both spouses wanted custody of the children, and so they had to go to court. When the judge awarded custody to Veronica, Lord Lucan was devastated.

Veronica hired a nanny – Sandra Rivett - to take care of the children. On 7 November 1974, she was killed in the basement of Veronica’s house. The next day Lord Lucan disappeared. Officially, he has never been seen since then. There have been numerous sightings of him, but none has been confirmed. In 1999, he was proclaimed dead by a British court.

The first episode of the drama covers the story of the Lucan family until the murder in November 1974. The second episode covers events after the murder: the police investigation and the inquest. We also learn how Lord Lucan’s friends respond to the news of his disappearance. What they say and what they do.

There are many theories about this case. Was Lord Lucan guilty of murder? Did he murder the nanny Sandra Rivett because he mistook her for his wife Veronica in the dark basement of her home? Or is he innocent? Was she murdered by an intruder? What happened to Lord Lucan afterwards? Did he commit suicide shortly after he disappeared? Or did he escape to another country? Another continent? Is he dead or still alive?

In this version of the case based on John Pearson’s book, we get some answers, but we are also told that some of this is a theory, a possibility. I do not want to spoil the viewing for anyone, so I am not going to reveal any details. Perhaps the answers given here are true. Perhaps the truth lies elsewhere. Most likely the whole truth will never be discovered. Most of the people who were involved are no longer alive. Perhaps they knew more than they told the public. We will probably never know.

This case happened more than forty years ago, but it refuses to die. Perhaps because it is about members of the aristocracy, about people who were celebrities in their time. Many books have been published about it and reports still pop up in the press from time to time.

According to a story in the Telegraph of May 2012, Lord Lucan escaped to Africa where he lived for many years. A story in the Express of November 2014 explains that a man from West Sussex recently discovered that his biological mother was Sandra Rivett, the nanny, who was murdered in November 1974.

The quality of the drama produced by ITV is quite high, but there are so many characters involved in the story and it is difficult to find out who is who. One way to help the viewer is to place an on-screen message with a name the first time a character is seen. Another way is to make sure that names are used when the characters talk to each other. At least the first time we see them on the screen.

Apparently, the producers did not think about this aspect of the drama. Perhaps they were so deeply involved in the case that they forgot to remember that when you have a long list of characters you should give the viewer a chance to identify them and find out who is who. Because of this flaw I have to remove one star. Therefore I will give it four stars.

Since the case involves a horrible murder, and since the main character is not exactly a likable person, I cannot say you will enjoy it, but I do think you can appreciate it.

PS # 1. For more information and different interpretations of the case, see the following books:

** Lucan: Not Guilty by Sally Falk Moore (1987, 1988)

** Lord Lucan: What Really Happened by James Ruddick (1994, 1995)

** Dead Lucky: Lord Lucan – The Final Truth by Duncan MacLaughlin and William Hall (2003)

** A Different Class of Murder by Laura Thompson (2015)

PS # 2. Bloodlines: The Lord Lucan Story is a dramatized version of the case that was completed in 1997 and released on DVD in 2001. Directed by Brian Grant; written by Julia Taylor-Stanley.

PS # 3. The following articles are available online:

** Hugh Dougherty, “I helped Lord Lucan live a secret life in Africa,” the Telegraph, 20 May 2012

** Staff reporters, “Lord Lucan’s son breaks silence over father’s disappearance,” the Telegraph, 8 September 2012

** Jane Warren, “There’s no proof [of] my dad’s murder: Lord Lucan’s daughter speaks out bout nanny death,” the Express, 4 November 2013

** Craig McLean, “Lucan: the mystery that won’t go away,” the Telegraph, 30 November 2013

** Simon Edge, “I discovered that my real mum was killed by Lord Lucan,” the Express, 7 November 2014
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on 20 February 2014
I found this a very gripping drama with a superb performance by Rory Kinnear and a very fine supporting cast includes Michael Gambon and Rupert Evans. Well written and surprisingly quite moving. Well worth seeing.
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on 10 March 2014
I enjoyed this so much because, besides being a mystery that baffled a nation, it was a glimpse into life at that time and a chance to see how the country and its attitudes have changed. The casting was very well done and although the ending was speculation you felt it had been so well researched that that probably was the truth.
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on 1 March 2014
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on 17 September 2014
Really interesting portrayal of an incident I remember being all over the papers in my school days. It really opened my eyes to how the 'moneyed' classes live such different lives to the rest of us.
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