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Appropriate Adult [DVD] 
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Powerful and thought-provoking drama which tells the compelling true story of Janet Leach who played a crucial part in uncovering the shocking crimes of Fred and Rosemary West--two of the most notorious serial-killers in history.
Featuring electrifying performances by Emily Watson (as Janet Leach) and Dominic West (as Fred West), it reveals the extraordinary relationship which developed between the two, as West tried to evade responsibility for his crimes and protect his wife Rosemary from justice.
Based on extensive research, and consultation with numerous people closely involved in the case, including police officers, surviving victims and relatives of victims of the Wests.
Starring: Emily Watson, Dominic West, Robert Glenister, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Monica Dolan
It’s inevitable, given the subject matter, that Appropriate Adult is not the kind of television factual drama that’s going to be to everyone’s taste. In telling the story of notorious British serial killers Fred and Rosemary West, it’s a project facing a real challenge to balance getting the material across, while never straying into any kind of sensationalising of it. Appropriate Adult, though, walks that line with a staggering amount of skill.
The story is told from the perspective of Janet Leach, the Gloucester housewife who was pivotal in uncovering the extent of the crimes of the Wests. Leach is played by Emily Watson in Appropriate Adult, and, even factoring in the pedigree of her work to date, it’s one of her very best performances.
She’s not alone, though. Dominic West, portraying Fred West, is extraordinary, and it’s the scenes shared by Watson and West that stick in the mind long after the credits have rolled. Appropriate Adult is, crucially, given two feature length episodes to tell its story, and much credit deserves to go to writer Neil McKay for the manner in which he’s tackled it. It’s a controversial piece of work, certainly, but it feels like a diligent one.
This is a sensitive drama that, at its best, is exquisitely played. And while Appropriate Adult is often difficult television, with its subject matter making it often haunting to watch, it’s of rare quality. McKay has found a strong angle from which to tell his story, and the end result is really quite excellent. --Jon Foster
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I'm afraid to say I was too, I started to feel sorry for the man. Very chilling, honest, and far too close to the truth about our mixed feeling.
This couple were an abomination how could I feel an approximation of humanity?
Well there lies our complexity as humans. Anon
There are chilling scenes in the searches for the bodies both at the house and in a field at Much Marcle and some disturbing scenes during the evidence given by Fred West during his interrogation by Gloucester Police.
This could have ended up a rather documentary film but the clever idea to view it from the angle of the appropriate adult added an interesting dimension that works extremely well
Excellent performances by Dominic West, who even had a creepy resemblance to West and Monica Dolan as the more evil and foul mouthed Rose. I read elsewhere that even the police on the case considered their performances to be disturbingly accurate.
Emily Watson portrayed Janet Leach also as a victim of Fred West, being sucked in by his Svengali power who eventually succumbed to the press to sell her story before it went to court. Whether West had this power over Leach or not is apparently debatable given the views of reading about the story elsewhere. He was clearly not all there and yet Leach appeared to fall for him in and maintained contact with him even after her services as appropriate adult were dispensed with. The producers do admit to giving some licence to the dramatisation but it is still very much worth a look and kept me glued right to the end.
He was so convincing. He even got the accent right. That's one reservation I always have when any drama is set in Gloucestershire. It's rarely accurate. Usually a general 'mummerset' accent.
I was not disappointed with this drama. I had waited many years for a dramatisation of the Cromwell St. Inquiry. ITV make the best drama biopics. The woman who played Rosemary West was good too. Very accurate.
Frederick West was very good at convincing people that he was a humble, harmless man who was a victim of injustice. He sucked the middle aged Ms Leach in with ease by duping her into believing he relied on her emotionally. He was very clever by telling her stories of his "great love " Anna McFall and that his favourite film was Bambi. I felt angry at her foolish gullibility but at the same time I felt chills as I realised that this was how to groomed young girls into his lair.
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