Sean Bean => Critics' Corner => Topic started by: patch on April 25, 2017, 06:17:25 AM

Title: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on April 25, 2017, 06:17:25 AM
[Review] Broken: Sean Bean in spiritual turmoil

Since the first season of Game of Thrones, Sean Bean has become practically a divinity for the series.  The British series Broken brings him back to the forefront as a tormented priest from a poor neighborhood of an English town.

 A staged production, but with a lot of nervousness.  It is undeniable that Broken is a series of an incredible visual beauty, both in its way to capture atmospheres and in the richness of its frames.  Nevertheless, by being so complex, we lose contact with what happens on the screen.  For a subtle subject, the realization is simply too much of a brush.

 Living or surviving?  In the first two episodes, we discover a panoply of broken human beings, who always try to keep their heads high.  Broken develops non-Manichaean characters and asks if there is really good and evil.  Again, one discovers an English series that deals with the fundamental subjects with rigor and know-how.

 Episodes 1 and 2 of Broken were broadcast at the Festival Séries mania 2017 .  The series currently has no release date in France.

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on May 20, 2017, 03:07:59 PM
Broken review from 33.27 min.

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on May 25, 2017, 12:26:24 PM
I was all set to scoff at Broken, Jimmy McGovern’s new series for BBC1 (30 May, 9pm). A drama about a Catholic priest and his impoverished parish in a “major northern city”, it sounded so hilariously McGovern-by-numbers (“Eh, lad, give us the collection bowl – the leccy wants paying”) that on paper it could pass for a spoof. Even funnier, Sean Bean, late of Game of Thrones, was to play the clergyman in question.

Naturally, I adore Bean, who comes from the major northern city that is Sheffield, as I do, and who is so terribly . . . virile (though when I interviewed him in a car park behind King’s Cross Station a few years ago, and a security guard in a high-vis jacket approached us furiously shouting the odds, he ran and hid in his trailer, leaving yours truly to face the music). But let’s face it: he’s not exactly versatile, is he? The idea of him in a cassock, or even just a mud-coloured cardigan, made me laugh out loud.

Settling down to watch the series, however, I soon realised that no scoffing would be taking place. For one thing, Broken is hugely involving, its Dickensian plot (no spoilers here) as plausible as it is macabre. For another, in the present circumstances, its script seems to be rather daring. Not only is Father Michael Kerrigan shown – cover my eyes with the collected works of Richard Dawkins! – to be a good and conscientious priest, but his faith is depicted as a fine and useful thing. If he brings his besieged parishioners solace, he is sure to be carrying vouchers for the food bank as well.

The flashbacks from which he suffers – in which his mammy can be heard calling him a “dirty, filthy beast” and a spiteful old priest is seen applying a cane to his hand – are undoubtedly clichéd. But they are also a device. Forty years on, he is happy to nurse his dying mother, and his love for God is undimmed: two facts that are not, of course, unrelated. How weirdly bold for a television series to set its face against the consensus that denigrates all things Christian as it never would any other faith.

i don’t for a minute buy Anna Friel as Christina, the gobby, broke single mother Kerrigan is determined to help. Even when covered in bruises – a bust-up at the betting shop – Friel manages to look glossy, and she never, ever quits acting (with a capital A), which is a drag. But Bean is such a revelation, I was able to ignore the voice in my head which kept insisting that a Catholic priest as young as he is – in this realm, “young” is a couple of years shy of 60 – would surely be Polish or African (I’m not a Catholic but I am married to one, for which reason I occasionally go to Mass)
He plays Kerrigan, whose overwhelming desire to be kind sometimes makes him cack-handed, with great gentleness, but also with an uninflected ordinariness that is completely convincing. Part of the problem (my problem, at least) with Communion is the lack of rhetorical passion in most priests’ voices, something he captures perfectly.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: lab183 on May 25, 2017, 03:51:25 PM
Is it possible to really be angry at the reviewer and at the same time acknowledge that he sees the error in his previous judgement? "not versatile" MY ASS! Ugh! I guess our lad showed him!!!  :phbbbt
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on May 31, 2017, 12:55:09 AM
Broken review – Jimmy McGovern blasts us with his misery cannon in this bruising drama
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was … Sean Bean! Through the lattice, playing a Catholic priest – Father Michael Kerrigan – in Jimmy McGovern’s Broken (BBC1). You don’t think of Sean Bean – Richard Sharpe, Ned Stark, -Boromir – as being cut from that kind of cloth. But he makes an excellent priest: a good listener, principled, pious, compassionate. Not without his own -issues – flashbacks to a troubled past, an abusive childhood, a complex relationship with his mother and more than a little creeping doubt. But I’d want that – questioning, rather than blind faith – from my priest. I’d be happy to confess my sins to Father Michael.

Broken episode 1 review
Jimmy McGovern’s moving new six-part drama starring Sean Bean and Anna Friel is anchored by excellent performances…
As strong as Friel is, Broken belongs to Bean. As Father Michael, he's a rare thing on gritty TV drama, a good priest and a good man, played by an undeniably great actor.

Last Night's TV reviewed: Broken
Bean’s performance last night was brilliant at capturing the double nature of the main character.

Jimmy McGovern’s Broken is timely but tough to watch: review
Craggy, careworn Sean Bean played against hard man type as the flawed Father Michael Kerrigan, determined to help but beset by his own problems. Soulful, soft-spoken and haunted by childhood trauma, he took so many people’s problems on his shoulders, they were soon pushing him down onto his knees.

Broken review: Anna Friel and Sean Bean are a dream team in Jimmy McGovern’s bleak new drama
Credit also has to be given to Sean Bean for his turn as Father Michael Kerrigan, a priest with a past whose work takes him to Christina’s town. Michael is a man of the cloth that you’d want to go for a drink with, and Bean absolutely nails the quieter moments when he is tortured by memories of his abusive childhood. He and Friel have great chemistry – his reservedness and stoicism plays well against Friel’s hopped up energy.

Broken episode one review: a crucial story about poverty and faith in modern Britain
Meanwhile, Father Michael is observing the crisis in his community. Bean is excellent in his role as the troubled priest – never patronising, but weighed down with the burden of compassion and responsibility.

Jimmy McGovern's gut-wrenching drama Broken is bleak, but still impresses viewers
Jimmy McGovern's drama – about a well-respected Catholic priest (Sean Bean) presiding over a large parish on the outskirts of a major city in northern England – was not light on heavy themes, and the dark series caused all range of reaction online.

While much of what was seen caused people to comment on the depressing nature of the story, it soon became apparent that viewers were impressed – and ultimately were looking forward to seeing where the bleak plot would travel to next.

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on May 31, 2017, 03:09:37 AM
Broken, BBC One review - things look bleak in McGovernville
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This is Jimmy McGovern, so it’s no surprise to find ourselves up north and feeling grim. The prolific screenwriter’s latest drama series is located in what is described only as “a northern city” (though apparently it’s 60 miles from Sheffield, which would take you to McGovern’s home town of Liverpool as the crow flies).

Here, wherever it is, kindly Father Michael Kerrigan (a sotto voce Sean Bean) does his best to minister to his depressed and impoverished flock, who are struggling to make ends meet both physically and spiritually.

Broken explores one priest’s conflict in a heartless world
McGovern’s writing is powerful and Broken has a superb cast with Sean Bean as Father Michael Kerrigan.

He is a good man who is on the side of his parishioners, trying to mediate between them and the harsh realities of 21st century poverty.

Through him religion is portrayed the as revolutionary Karl Marx describes it as “the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions”.

Viewers were in tears after watching new Sean Bean drama Broken
After being postponed last week in the wake of the Manchester bombing, Jimmy McGovern’s drama Broken finally made it to TV last night – and it’s safe to say its delayed debut still made a real impact.

The story about a priest, played by Sean Bean, who had been abused as a boy and was now trying to help a poor northern community, touched the hearts of viewers around the UK, as did Anna Friel’s performance as a single mum struggling to look after her children.

Overall, then, not a dry eye in the house.

Broken relentlessly maps the landscape of everyday suffering
There is nothing in Jimmy McGovern’s Broken that audiences haven’t seen before. It’s a tale of unyielding working-class misery. The tears, the wringing exhaustion of a woman teetering on the edge, gripping her children’s hands, winding them down the rainy pathways. Late for something, always just that minute too late as the door slams in their face or the bus whizzes by. It’s there in the shocking realism of early Ken Loach, it’s there in the smoky corners of Mike Leigh films, the social dramas of the Dardenne brothers, a lineage of tired women as piously put upon as the Virgin Mary.
In fact, the only mild diversion comes from Sean Bean’s craggy, kindly priest, Fr Kerrigan, who almost takes on a saintly glow such is his generous involvement in his parishioners lives. Although he has his own fractured psyche to deal with that leaks out in a series of flashbacks to classrooms with paint peeling from the walls and snug family homes that cannot hide their pain.

In a piece that prides itself on its resolute authenticity, the clunky segue into the backgrounds of other characters lives as seen through the confessional box may be a dramatic contrivance too far. With the emphasis on faith, as Christina angrily lashes out at Fr Kerrigan, telling him that it was attending her child’s Holy Communion rehearsals that got her fired and beaten and who knows what next, it asks is there room for faith in lives that are absent of hope?

How can faith possibly give strength or peace in existences relentlessly ground to dust? It would have probably been more interesting (and more believable) if McGovern had eschewed the easy trope of the local priest and the church-going community to express this.

There may be nothing that original in Broken, but these are stories and images that need to be seen again and again to remind us that nothing much has really changed since the days of Cathy Come Home or Kes, and as Britain goes to the polls, it’s asking the important, timely question (that resonates close to home) - how long can lives remain so broken?

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on June 03, 2017, 04:02:40 AM
The mere idea of rugged Sean Bean playing a troubled Catholic priest in a grey northern town sounds like a parody of Jimmy McGovern’s morally righteous social realist oeuvre.

Bean plays Michael, a tireless Good Samaritan whose private demons and loneliness mirror the solitary anguish of the locals who turn to him in times of dire need. We’re all broken in one way or another, but we rarely have the courage to admit it. Softly-spoken Father Michael is there to listen and advise without judgement.

A damaged hero for our Godforsaken times, Michael acts as an emblem of much-needed kindness in an increasingly selfish, heartless society; he’s basically everything Gervais tried and spectacularly failed to achieve with Derek.

Michael may be a somewhat idealised figure, but he’s rendered utterly convincing by McGovern’s nuanced writing and Bean’s tender, understated performance.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on June 04, 2017, 12:04:43 AM
Television review: This Broken Britain is a grim vision

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The title of the new Jimmy McGovern drama, Broken, is a surprise only in that I had assumed he’d done one called Broken already. The man behind Cracker and Accused hardly specialises in the happy and wholesome. Yet even by his standards, this one is grim.

Sean Bean’s shaky priest has already had flashbacks to his abusive childhood, while Anna Friel’s single mum has been sacked, punched and denied the dole before she finds her mother dead upstairs — then keeps the body hidden for three days so she can pick up the dead woman’s pension. All that in just the first of six episodes. It’s the full Ken Loach, but served as a canapé.

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Clairette on June 04, 2017, 01:18:58 AM
The author of the review, apparently, lives in a very pink and fluffy world. The story shown in 1 series is just as banal as it is terrible.
Beggars everywhere live the same way. I know such stories in fact, maybe not for three days, but the essence of it does not change. After the first shock, thought inevitably returns to money, because the whole life of a beggar is a search for means to live.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on June 04, 2017, 05:03:05 AM
BROKEN? I was after the first half hour of Jimmy McGovern’s new drama of the same name (BBC1, Tuesday).
The Liverpool-set series was postponed from last week, quite rightly so, as the relentless sadness of the drama would have been too much after the bombing in Manchester, but if you needed a reminder of how it feels to be human McGovern delivers it with both barrels.

Big, burly hard man Sean Bean plays Father Michael – no, wait, he’s fantastic as a tenderhearted character – trying to do his best for his hard-up parishioners. One of whom is Christina (Anna Friel) a skint, out of work, single mother. She lost her job after “borrowing” money from the till, then had a punch up with the manager and can’t claim benefits for 13 weeks.

Father Michael tries to help; he sees Christine can’t afford a fancy dress for her daughter’s first communion and tries to get the children to take it in their school uniforms.

He’s a good man, but has his own demons. Flashbacks to his childhood were utterly heartbreaking; a mother screaming “You dirty, filthy beast, have you got no ****** shame?” at the poor mite for reasons as yet unexplained; young Michael reciting a beautiful poem he’d written, only for his teacher to scream “WHO HELPED YOU?” and give him the tawse across his hand.

No wonder Michael is full of doubt. And now his mother is dying and needs him, as his hopeless brothers won’t share the load of her care.

 Deeply sad? Yes. Depressing? Yes. But McGovern’s very human dramas, with their beautiful detail, are a necessity in a television schedule full of flash types on reality shows.

Seeing Father Michael tucked up in bed, reflecting while he’s reading the Bible and listening to the Shipping Forecast; and, most powerfully, a long, silent, scene where Christine discovers her dead mother and caresses her face, were rare moments of stillness on the box and illustrate that McGovern isn’t afraid to show that into each life a little rain must fall. Even if in some cases, in his work, it’s a hurricane.

The use of music in Broken was exceptional, too. I was welling up at the use of Nina Simone’s version of Randy Newman’s bleak but beautiful I Think It’s Going To Rain Today at the beginning of the drama and was floored when Simone sang I Get Along Without You Very Well to accompany shots of Christine’s loneliness.

Broken is visceral viewing but, ultimately, it’s about the basic human values of love, duty and faith. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series, which hopefully includes more of Line Of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar as Father Michael’s confidante Father Peter.

Broken is the latest drama by Jimmy McGovern (Cracker, The Street) — which could well be why it’s attracted two such starry leads. Neither of them, mind you, is required to demonstrate much starriness here. Sean Bean abandons his normal hunky ways to play a quietly spoken priest who manages to radiate goodness wherever he goes, despite obviously having Issues of His Own. Anna Friel does the traditional glamorous-actress-trying-hard-to-look-dowdy thing — rather well, in fact — as Christina, a woman whose bad luck is by no means limited to being a penniless orphan.

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Rebecca on June 06, 2017, 06:04:41 PM

From Den of Geek's Broken episode 2 Review: (

A little of that was encouraged out of him this week by Roz, whose interest in Father Michael made them more equals than confessor and confessee. We learned that before becoming a priest, Michael treated women disrespectfully, using them for sex and mistreating them afterwards. The flashback scenes of him approaching a door behind which a woman is screaming appeared to show, perhaps, an abortion. Seeing as these scenes are playing out in his mind, were both the little boy and the young man smoking down the corridor Michael at different ages? Just as we saw his fifty-year old hand become that of a small child when holding his mother’s, are those flashbacks conflating various instances of shame in his past?

That kind of symbolism combined with the delicateness of Sean Bean’s performance, is what elevates Broken beyond a collection of (justifiably) angry political complaints. The image of Michael being called to the priesthood after his experience with the returning hawk was transcendent storytelling. It offered poetry, not just protest. You need the one in order to sell the other.

Yes, delicate and transcendent. I like this reviewer's writing, and I'm blown away by Broken.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on June 07, 2017, 12:29:34 AM
BBC criticised by some viewers for airing shooting in Sean Bean's religious drama Broken
Some viewers of Sean Bean's new BBC drama Broken have reacted critically over violent scenes in the wake of the London terror attack – while others strongly defended the poignant episode.

In the new prestige drama, Sean's northern priest Michael Kerrigan encounters a range of troubled parishioners desperately reaching out for his guidance and support in their hours of need.

This week, Father Michael talked down a suicidal woman (Deadwood's Paula Malcomson) guilty of stealing Ł200,000 by sharing his own harrowing story of rededicating his life to helping others when he too once considered suicide years earlier.

The man of the cloth was later called to counsel a grieving mother after her bipolar son was tragically shot dead in a showdown with local police. Some viewers felt it was merely too soon to air the shooting after seven were killed in a terror strike this past weekend in London:
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Rebecca on June 07, 2017, 06:12:25 AM
Wow, talk about fabricating a story out of thin material. He gave four supposed examples of people complaining.
One is: "So true it hurts #Broken @BBC."  That's a criticism?
Two more were by the same person. So really TWO people made negative comments in a virtual waterfall of praise and acclaim last night on Twitter. So much that there was a tweet something like, "When I saw Sean Bean was trending I almost had a heart attack. Thank you 2016." But I guess the writer thought negativity was better click-bait.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on June 11, 2017, 01:19:20 AM
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Despite standout performances from Anna Friel and Sean Bean, there is something of a one-perfume topnote to Broken: misery. That is not, necessarily, to detract from Jimmy McGovern’s tale of a sort-of-Manchester, focusing on the woes of a beleaguered northern priest, and the white lies he has to tell absolutely everybody, and the grey lines they write on his once-Sharpe face.

McGovern is too adept a writer to indulge himself in agitprop: only very occasionally, and perhaps rightly so, as in Father Michael’s railing against “four betting shops in the high street. No bank, no post office, no chemist…” do we feel we are in lefty hands. And he makes magnificent, true, points about cash-poverty, as opposed to not poverty-poverty. It starts with Nina Simone’s powerfully beautiful I Think It’s Going to Rain Today: the problem is that the rain never stops.


The BBC’s other big drama series of the moment is Jimmy McGovern’s Broken (BBC1, Tuesdays). McGovern is television royalty, and rightly so: Hillsborough, The Street and Accused are among the finest British TV dramas ever made; Cracker, starring Robbie Coltrane as brilliant but deeply flawed psychologist Fitz, rewrote the rules for television thrillers and has influenced countless TV series, films and novels.

But Broken, starring Anna Friel as a destitute mother-of-three and Sean Bean as a Catholic priest haunted by his traumatic past, is unrelentingly grim and completely lacking the mordant humour of some of McGovern’s previous work.It’s like being battered over the head with a misery stick. Viewers who stick through all six episodes are likely to end up feeling as broken as the characters

Great British Drama – Paula and Broken
Two ‘flagship’ BBC dramas are currently playing out on Beeb TV. Paula on Beeb2, and Broken on Beeb1. Two gritty, contentious, substantial looks into life in “broke Britain”.

 Whilst Paula has finished (aww…) Broken is still going. A six part series about faith, diligence, and the degradation of society, with Father Sean Bean (Michael Kerrigan) helplessly and haplessly trying to guide his community through the valley of the shadow of failed promises and incompetent public services.

We’re up to episode three now, and, so far, we’ve been introduced to Christina Fitzsimmons (Anna Friel), who melodramatically loses her job by getting punched in the face, then hides her dead mother’s body so she can withdraw the pension and feed her three children. Ep two focuses more on Father Sean Bean who, in not picking up the phone after a long day listening to people’s woes, indirectly causes a psychotic son to be shot dead by police after holding a knife to his throat.

 say, ‘gritty contentious substantial looks into Britain’, and both series kinda are. Paula felt genuine, up to the end of the second episode, just before she starts firing a gun off in a restaurant. And Broken uses themes that pull at all the heart strings. Crisis of faith, trying to make it by, suicide. But both programmes kind of go askew a bit.

From the end of ep two onwards Paula falls into the realms of the bizarre, while Broken comes across just a touch ridiculous, with Friel walking around the streets of her community with tomato ketchup smudged over her top lip to make it look like blood, and the kid with the knife waving it around on the spot in his front gardening then getting shot down by police who are heavier armed then anti-terrorist units. Broken just feels a little squished. But it’s worth watching to see Father Sean Bean turn in a career best performance as the conflicted, tormented Father Sean Bean…

Put it this way, considering Paula’s finished and Broken’s still got someway to go (Tuesday nights, 9pm, Beeb One folks), I’d rather wait for my computer to warm up and click on iPlayer to watch Paula, than flick over the TV to watch Broken. But you could watch both… Two good attempts at holding attention spans.

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Clairette on June 11, 2017, 08:53:53 AM
completely lacking the mordant humour
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What? The author watched the movie it?
The fight of Christina, "gypsy wedding", football, Michael's brothers, Chattanooga at last ...
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: lab183 on June 11, 2017, 03:02:13 PM
*********************************THE BROKEN SERIES --------- SPOILERS ALERT***********************************************


I think the critics are missing one of the major points of the show. Jimmy McGovern IMO seems to be making a major statement about the state of the world, not just the UK and not just about the Catholic Church. He's making a statement about power and control, as in who really has it? God? The government? The wealthy? Who? 

Why are all these people in such total misery? At first we think it has do mainly with poverty and we see Father Michael asking God to somehow intervene on Anna Friel's character's & Vernon's behalf. We get angry at the government's inability to see how its own insane bureaucracy and corruption are literally bringing people to their knees. Never mind asking God for help, he can't even get any cooperation or relief from his own parishioners who can't afford a Holy Communion dress but are willing to go into years of debt all in the name of honoring the same God.

The control theme is even more keenly felt in all the death stories. We learn that misery affects even the well off, Roz Demichelis (suicidal woman). We see Father Michael trying to exert control over her by making her promise to wait a few days before she offs herself. Father Micheal's Mum is dying & he's trying his best to control her death for the sake of his own personal issues in juxtaposition to how Anna Friel tried to control her own mother's death for the sake of her pension check. And lastly, all of the events that spiraled out of control that lead to Vernon's death.

To me, the show is very deep and thought provoking. It's not about God's control or the government's control. It's about control over ourselves. It's about the choices we make every day, how even the smallest of things can lead to much bigger things ...all the way up to our faith in God or the Universal power of your choice. People have the power to change things for themselves, but they are so trapped in their details of their daily lives that they can no longer see the big picture. Instead of looking for someone else to blame, people, (even priests) need to look within for their own power.

it will be very interesting to see how this all plays out...will people step up and take better control over themselves or not?
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Clairette on June 12, 2017, 06:02:33 AM
Very interesting, thank you. ( ( I would dispute, but my vocabulary will not allow ( (
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on June 14, 2017, 12:12:00 AM
Sean Bean starts religious revolution on Broken as he demands a female pope
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Sean Bean's new BBC One series Broken may have sparked a religious revolution on Tuesday (June 13).

The latest drama from Cracker and Accused writer Jimmy McGovern shines a light on the suffering of a northern community as a lone priest (Sean Bean) tries to bring peace to his troubled parish.

Last week's episode drew some criticism in the wake of the London terror attack for centring half of its episode on the aftermath of police shooting an unarmed, mentally ill man.

 Broken followed along a similar theme tonight, as Father Michael counselled a young police officer being pressured by colleagues to corroborate their lies about the previously-mentioned shooting.

However, it was the priest's impassioned sermon about the Catholic Church and its attitudes towards women in the clergy that most resonated with viewers during the third episode.

"I think I understand why our church is so upset against women priests," Father Michael told his sparse parish. "I think it's the old men who run the church don't want to see menstrual blood on the alter. Fear of. Ignorance of. Contempt of the bodies of women.

"'Ah, it's alright', you might say, 'these old men will soon be dead'. But they've taught younger men. And those younger men will, in turn, teach younger men. And so it will continue, this 'fear of'. Ignorance of. Contempt for the bodies of women.

"Female priests. Female bishops. Female pope. That's what our church needs."

To that rallying speech, Twitter gave Sean Bean and Broken a very hearty 'hallelujah':

If he keeps up these powerful sermons, Father Michael may have Britain's biggest congregation by the time Broken ends its first series.

However, Father Michael risks violating his own clergy vows next week when he tries to make contact with the parishioner (Deadwood and Ray Donovan's Paula Malcomson) who he talked down from suicide earlier in the series.
Broken will continue next Tuesday (June 20) at 9pm on BBC One.

Broken episode 3 review
Broken continues with another sad story, but will audiences turn away from drama this bleak?

This review contains spoilers.
Give me the child and I’ll give you the man, says an old Jesuit adage I’m paraphrasing and probably misattributing, but nonetheless the wisdom stands: what we learn in childhood forms us as adults. Of Broken’s many messages, that’s the loudest.

In childhood, Michael Kerrigan learned there was something wrong with him. He learned to keep quiet. He learned the sexual abuse he suffered was his fault. None of that’s exclusive to Catholicism – those are the lessons all abused children learn and they’re the fastest to sink in. Unlearning them can be the job of a lifetime.

It’s a job that Father Michael, now in his fifties, is still working on. As he struggles to support his bruised community and atone for his past wrongs, he’s also trying to make sense of the abuse he suffered. Why him? Why was it allowed to continue? And why didn’t he speak out about it? Episode three shows him still reeling from the trauma, and, in its most powerful scene, finally confronting his painfully indifferent abuser.

Father Michael’s story is Broken’s most affecting strand. Not because it’s the saddest—you can hardly rank these desperate stories by weight of wretchedness, they’re dreadful to a one—but because it has the most complexity. As a child, Sean Bean’s character suffered physical and sexual abuse by priests and then became a priest, a vocation in which he clearly believes. Michael was terribly wronged by the adults in his life, later went on to wrong others—women, and now lives a life of atonement. He gets angry. He can be selfish. He could have, but didn't, save a boy’s life for want of picking up the telephone. He struggles to square his anger and pain with his faith’s aspirations to forgiveness and mercy. Put simply, he’s not perfect.

Being not perfect (and being played by an actor able to convey all of the above as naturally as breathing) makes Father Michael compelling. Watching a complex character try to be good, it turns out, is just as captivating as watching one try on being bad—a route well-trodden in modern TV drama.

The complexity is key. Much less compelling than Father Michael’s is the story of Helen Oyenusi (Muna Otaru), whose saintly composure following the murder of her son doesn’t feel grounded in reality. She displays no anger, only gratitude and benevolence. She responds to platitudes from the police service that killed her son with humble thanks. Heartbroken, she doles out forgiveness rather than blame. Put simply, Helen is perfect, which makes her hard to believe in.

Broken has a habit of painting its supporting characters in primary colours that challenge credulity. In pursuit of Jimmy McGovern’s message of social responsibility, they’re either pure victims like Helen or pure villains like PC Andrew Powell’s commanding officer. The latter exists as an avatar for closed-ranks corruption in the police service, i.e. a baddie. That’s why he doesn’t only put pressure on Mark Stanley’s conflicted character, he also callously tramples over his infant daughter’s birthday party in the process.

That sort of manipulative touch weakens Broken’s argument. Even if McGovern’s perennial theme of social injustice is close to your own heart—and why on earth wouldn’t it be?—it risks overegging the pudding. For all this series' power, with no ironic edge or leavening comedy, Broken may prove too bleak and too earnest for some. Audiences are happy to be moved; they balk at being overburdened or patronised.

Audiences, however, always have time for terrific performances such as the one Mark Stanley (Dickensian, Game Of Thrones) gave as PC Andrew Powell, an officer wrestling with his conscience when his colleagues form a conspiracy to cover up misconduct in the killing of Helen’s son. Pulling focus from Sean Bean at his best is no small achievement, and Stanley did just that in the emotional church scene.

Drew’s story was another important tale about how challenging it can be to do the right thing. His final speech about the impossibility of being a coward with a conscience was moving and truthful. Like Father Michael, he was traumatised, not by historical events but by those of the recent past.

A drama you watch with a heavy heart, Broken is still at its best as an emotional biography of a man struggling to emerge from his past. “Do this in memory of me,” said Father Michael in mass, while suffering flashbacks to his childhood abuse, and it’s a cruel irony that he can't deliver the sacrament in memory of his saviour, only in memory of his abuser.

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Rebecca on June 14, 2017, 03:53:59 AM


Broken viewers left SPEECHLESS as Father Michael Kerrigan makes THIS shock confession (

THOSE who have been tuning into BBC drama Broken over the past couple of weeks have watched as troubled Father Michael Kerrigan struggles with flashbacks of his childhood and tonight, they learned the extent of the abuse he suffered.

In a number of flashbacks scenes the priest could be seen as young boy at school where his teacher Father Matthew (played by Thomas Arnold) put his hands on his thigh while teaching and watched him in the shower after a PE class.

Finally enough was enough for Father Michael (Sean Bean) and he decided to confront the man who had left him feeling suicidal as a child.

He tracked down Father Matthew and was left fuming when he realised he didn't think he had done anything wrong and refused to apologise for his abuse.

Father Michael raged: "You used to put your hand on my thigh and move it up to my genitals."

"You call that abuse? You liked it. Not one single boy didn't like it," his former English teacher hit back.

Viewers at home were left heartbroken as they finally learned the truth about Father Michael's troubled childhood and took to Twitter to praise Jimmy McGovern's script.

"Wow, what an unbelievably powerful episode. Made me cry. Jimmy McGovern is a genius. #Broken," one fan tweeted.

While another added: "Sean Bean's finest performance to date in #Broken. This week's episode incredible tense emotional stuff in the closing scene."

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on June 14, 2017, 09:33:21 AM
A love letter to Sean Bean – the most heartbreakingly mesmerising of actors

He’s been the sexy heartthrob, the Game of Thrones favourite, and the man who dies best on screen. But it’s as a priest on BBC’s Broken that he has finally proved what he’s capable of – and it’s stunning

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Warning: this article contains spoilers from Broken on the BBC.

It sometimes seems as though Jimmy McGovern named his latest show Broken because his aim is to break his viewers into pieces every week. We are now halfway through this series about Catholic priest Father Michael Kerrigan and the small flock he attempts to bring succour to in the north west of England – and every week has ended with me blubbering incoherently on the sofa.

Now no one does anger and pain and misery quite like McGovern, and with Broken he has plumbed new depths of social despair – but what makes it not just bearable but utterly gripping to watch is his dark, dry humour and the magnificent performance of his leading man, Sean Bean.

Bean’s Father Michael is quiet and conflicted, haunted by his past and battling a sadness that has seeped deep into his soul. He commands the screen, his pain flitting across that gaunt, ravaged face reminding us that some of the best actors say most when speaking least.

Thus we watch transfixed as Father Michael acts almost more as social worker than priest, trying to solve problems that are beyond prayer. We cheer as he attempts to rally his sparse congregation with a controversial attack on the “old men” who run the Catholic church and their “contempt for the bodies of women”, and smile as he goofily sings his sick mother to sleep with a full-throated rendition of Glenn Miller’s Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Throughout it all Bean slowly, carefully builds up a portrait of a man who is both a part of this community and yet somehow apart from it, who gives freely of himself yet sits alone at the local bar, donning his sadness just as he puts on his chasuble for mass. As a study of loneliness it is thoughtful, subtle and ultimately mesmerising: a picture of a man on the verge of breakdown who is holding himself together through sheer faith and a desperate desire to atone.

It is not the most obvious of roles for Bean, now 58, who built a name for himself as a swashbuckler and sword-swinger, famous mostly for his many glorious on-screen deaths. He’s been shot, stabbed, pulled apart by horses, chased off a cliff by cows, thrown off a giant satellite dish, blown up, beheaded and turned into a human pin-cushion by Orc arrows.

Yet those deaths, and the memes and jokes they’ve inspired, have obscured Bean’s acting prowess. The man who played Sharpe, Boromir and Ned Stark with such swagger is Rada-trained and Royal Shakespeare Company-finished. After an early triumph as a British TV heartthrob playing Mellors in Ken Russell’s Lady Chatterley and steely rifleman Richard Sharpe – a role that stirred a generation’s loins – he built a Hollywood career out of playing villains. He sneered at Pierce Brosnan’s Bond in GoldenEye, shouted at Nicolas Cage in National Treasure and threatened Harrison Ford in Patriot Games. Lord of the Rings made him the doomed anti-hero, he was easily the best thing in the disastrous Troy, giving Odysseus guile, wit and that familiar, rough-edged charm, and he terrified TV viewers as property developer John Dawson in the dark and brilliant Red Riding.

It was Game of Thrones that cemented his reputation for dying well. Games of Thrones was also the show that reminded people that behind the menace lurked an actor of great subtlety. His Ned Stark was both weary commander and good man fatally out of his depth; a lesser actor might have struggled to sell the often naive decisions that sealed Ned’s fate, but Bean’s authority and ability to say more with one frustrated look than a thousand speeches is what kept fans rooting for him to the bitter end.

 More recently he has switched between action-led TV dramas (Missing, Legends and The Frankenstein Chronicles) and darker fare, most notably cross-dressing teacher Simon Gaskell in McGovern’s earlier drama, Accused (a role he won an International Emmy for). In 2016 he popped up in the E4 comedy Wasted poking fun at himself by serving as a spirit guide to a bunch of stoners.

Yet this performance as Father Michael is something else again: interior, considered, filled with emotional heft. In this week’s episode, Michael finally confronted the priest whose actions destroyed his childhood and have hung heavy over his life. In a lesser drama, there would have been something cathartic in that moment. Instead, McGovern and Bean played it low-key and true as Michael pushed for answers only to find that his abuser simply didn’t care. It was a moment made all the more devastating by Bean’s quiet rage and the gut-wrenching brokenness at its core.

There are few actors capable of bringing that weight to a role. Of allowing you to see how a person can be both good but heartbreakingly, perhaps fatally, flawed. Of convincing you that a man so betrayed by the Catholic church as a child might return to that church thanks to a faith deeper than those betrayals and, crucially, of making you believe in every aspect of his character’s life from the good-natured interventions into his parishioners’ lives to those moments when, terribly, he ignores them out of a desire to be off-duty for once, to put down the candle, to be alone.

McGovern has noted that he never considered anyone else for the role: “I always go back to Sean – I just think he’s world class,” he said. “People know he’s good, but I know he’s great.” And, thanks to Broken, we all do now.

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on June 21, 2017, 01:35:01 AM
BBC One's Broken episode 4 brings viewers to tears
Paula Malcomson and Sean Bean wow with their performances.
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Father Michael's very livelihood was on the line in tonight's gripping Broken episode.

The BBC One drama series continues to entrance viewers as it weaves themes of religion, social unrest and mental health into its portrayal of a northern priest struggling within his own inner-turmoil while trying to counsel others.

Whereas previous episodes dealt with police corruption, sexual abuse, suicide and regressive attitudes towards women within the Catholic church, Tuesday's episode put the spotlight firmly on Father Michael's priestly vows.

Those vows were tested when parishioner Roz Demichelis — played brilliantly by Deadwood's Paula Malcomson — reappeared in his life. In an earlier episode, we'd seen Father Michael talk her down from suicide.

However, Roz remained haunted by her past transgressions (including stealing several thousand pounds) and was still on the verge of suicide, driving Father Michael (Sean Bean) to break his seal of confession in an attempt to save her life.

All the while, Father Michael remained haunted by the abuse he'd suffered at the hands of priest in his own childhood and was helpless to look on as his mother's health rapidly deteriorated.

 Paula Malcomson and Sean Bean wowed viewers with their performances:

Broken will return next week (Tuesday, June 27) for its penultimate episode at 9pm on BBC One as Father Michael tries to desperately to keep the peace between two warring neighbours.


‘I can’t breathe’ Broken viewers DEVASTATED as horrifying death causes major upset

BROKEN viewers were stunned tonight after the BBC drama closed with an unexpected death. 

The Sean Bean lead six-part series came to a dramatic ending tonight as Roz Demicheles, played by Paula Malcomson, took her own life by jumping off a tower block.

After confessing to stealing over Ł200,000 from her boss to feed her gambling habit, Roz sadly saw no other way out.

“If you’d have told me 10 years ago that I’d end up here, I’d have laughed in your face,” she told Father Michael. “I suppose everybody has their thing, where they want to feel nothing, to disappear.”

She elaborated: “Those machines were my thing, and if my boss hadn’t found out, they’d still be my thing.”

 She continued: “I would say is don’t think this is something that happens to other people, other people that aren’t like you. It could happen to your kid, you, your mother, your brother. Just don’t let them near them.”

Broken: How many episodes are in Broken? What time is it on the BBC? Cast, trailer, more

However, what really struck a nerve with audiences was the moment her daughter came rushing through her family home to find an empty house and note.

The horrifying scenes knocked viewers for six and left thousands bombarding Twitter with posts of heartbreak.

“I’m #Broken Harrowing, devastating, unbearable to watch but couldn't look away #SuicidePrevention,” cried one sobbing audience member, which was followed by: “Has left me absolutely heartbroken. Each week outdoes the last. Sean Bean showing yet again what an immense talent he is xXx.”

A third wailed: “Absolutely traumatised watching #Broken tonight #crackingtelevision.”

Others commended the show for highlighting the potentially tragic consequences of gambling addiction.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch

Broken continues next Tuesday at 9pm on BBC One.

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: AnnetteC45 on June 22, 2017, 07:45:17 PM
Will there ever be a way for me to see Broken in the U.S, maybe You Tube? I've seen trailers and clips. From what I have been able to see, very profound subject matters and strong performances. Any ideas please?
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on June 28, 2017, 12:31:01 AM
Broken finale: Sean Bean BBC drama set to feature ‘DEVASTATING’ confession
IT HAS kept viewers glued to their seats since it started airing over a month ago, now with only one episode left, Broken fans are in for quite the finale.
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The drama is set to conclude with an Earth-shattering confession as Father Michael Kerrigan (played by Sean Bean) has a frank conversation with his dying mother (Aine Ni Mhuiri).

In a teasing Twitter post shared by LA Productions, the film company behind the BBC drama, the final instalment will feature a big moment: “Next week's finale of #JimmyMcGovern's #Broken: Father Michael makes a devastating confession as his mother faces her final hours @BBCOne.”

Along with the caption, there was also a photo from the last episode showing Father Michael presiding over the coffin and funeral service which could be his own mother’s ceremony.

Will Father Michael finally talk about the horrific abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest? Will he break his silence on his difficult childhood? Fans will have to wait until next week for those questions to be answered.

Tonight's episode of Broken saw Father Michael trying to settle a dispute between Daniel Martin (Danny Sapani) and Carl McKenna (Ned Dennehy) after the two men got into a spat involving both homophobia and racism.

Despite Father Michael’s various “Ban Ki-moon” attempts to get the two men to put their differences to one side, the priest could not get them to agree.

Luckily, Carl conceded and the matter was grudgingly dropped as Helen Oyenusi (Muna Otaru) berated her brother Daniel for his behaviour.

The episode not only looked at faith versus sexuality but also grief and morals in a time of changing attitudes.

As Father Michael attempted to resolve the quarrel between the two men, he was seen visiting Father Peter Flaherty (Adrian Dunbar) for guidance over the problematic situation.
The six-part drama from Accused writer Jimmy McGovern has followed the trials and tribulations of the Catholic priest as he tries to help his local community in their hour of need.

Previous episodes of Broken have seen Father Michael having to deal with the suicide of one woman and the unlawful killing of a black teenager by the police amid a coverup.

Broken concludes on BBC One next Tuesday at 9pm.

Broken continues to break taboos and confront morality in another "powerful" episode
And viewers are completely in love with it.
Jimmy McGovern's "powerful" drama Broken returned to our screens for its penultimate episode tonight (June 27), and viewers are still completely captivated by it.

Tonight's episode saw Sean Bean's Father Michael attempt to heal the divisions between two families, both in the throes of grief, as they clashed over religion and sexuality.

Despite confronting the thorny and conflicting issues of the Catholic church, homosexuality and racism, viewers praised writer Jimmy McGovern for his brilliantly "relevant" storylines

Amid all the love for the series' raw and "amazing" portrayal of humanity in all its forms, fans were united over two things:

1) Sean Bean deserves all the awards, and 2) There better be a second season.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Clairette on June 28, 2017, 02:32:49 AM
1) Sean Bean deserves all the awards, and 2) There better be a second season.
2) Yes!
1) YES!!!
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Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Rebecca on June 28, 2017, 03:01:34 AM

Jimmy McGovern's BBC1 sociopolitical drama Broken is unequivocally the best thing on TV right now.  This week was the fourth instalment and its brilliance remains ever strong.  It is brilliantly written and acted and has truly secured actor Sean Bean's status as being a living national treasure.

This drama is the best thing I have seen Sean Bean in. As Father Michael Kerrigan, he is completely believable in this role. He too is a tortured soul as we have seen him have regular flashbacks of a sexually abusive childhood at school. It is such a mature accomplished performance by Bean, that he deserves major awards for his compelling performance.

I look forward to watching the completion of this series because it drew me in straight away. I care about all the residents of this community and especially about the life of Father Michael Kerrigan.. Each week week I have marvelled at the greatness of Sean Bean and of the quality of this drama. AMEN FOR THE BRILLIANT 'BROKEN' I SAY! 5/5.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on June 28, 2017, 06:50:14 AM
TV review: Broken

The Catholic Church’s attitudes towards homosexuality came under the microscope, while Sean Bean’s performance continues to shine

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The Catholic church in the northwesterly city that is not quite Liverpool in Broken may look pretty, especially during first communions with all the little girls in those princess frocks their mothers can barely afford. Morally, it does not survive much inspection, however.

The priest in charge, Sean Bean’s Father Michael Kerrigan, experienced sadistic and paedophile priests growing up. The church is not only misogynist, but phobic about women: Michael thinks the ban on women priests stems from a fear of ........
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Rebecca on June 28, 2017, 06:53:52 AM
You know what is amazing to me? I don't see any discussion of this in the Catholic blogosphere. Okay, I realise that not many people can watch it if they don't live in the UK, but still I'm surprised that this not generating more discussion.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Clairette on July 04, 2017, 05:11:52 AM
It's just "for the collection." ( (
Perhaps you will be pleased or curious to learn that in Siberia, too, write reviews of Broken

«Сломленный»: в финале Шон умрет?
Broken: will Sean die in the finals?
Poverty and human vices cause a person to turn to the confessor at the most difficult moments. But sometimes the priest himself needs help no less than his flock. This will be discussed in a new series about the English priest.

Although the review is so-so, to be honest  ( (

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on July 05, 2017, 12:14:13 AM
If The Handmaid’s Tale makes you despair of religion, try Broken

Sean Bean’s turn as a troubled priest in the BBC drama celebrates the best of religion while acknowledging the worst, says David Butcher
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In its way, Broken is the most radical drama of the year so far. Why? Because it offers something you hardly ever see on TV outside of Easter week – a story that’s as religious as a stained glass window. And unlike The Handmaid’s Tale (very unlike The Handmaid’s Tale), it comes with a broadly positive take on Christianity.

The story of a troubled Catholic priest, played with heart and soul by Sean Bean, does something vanishingly rare in the schedules: it celebrates the best of religion while acknowledging the worst.

In the end, though, this Tuesday's finale couldn’t have been a better advertisement for the priesthood if it had come with a blessing from Pope Francis himself. Maybe that shouldn’t feel so shocking. But invariably, films and dramas portray Catholicism as a strange and suspect business – all bells, smells and weirdos.
As a very lapsed Catholic myself, I can well understand that. I went to a Jesuit boarding school in the 1970s and 80s and heaven knows, it was an eccentric, archaic kind of place. So I can well see why, for directors and writers, it’s irresistible to film church locations as shadowy and sinister, with a priest who is a creepy hypocrite at best, and a child abuser at worst. How many crime dramas over the years have used an abusive Catholic priest as a plot point?

You can’t blame them. The fact a top Vatican cardinal was recently charged by an Australian court with multiple sexual offences suggests the extent of the possible skeletons the Church may still have in its sacristy cupboard. It’s a scandal that could take decades, perhaps generations, to recover from.

In his scripts for Broken, Jimmy McGovern doesn’t shy away from that ugly history, not a bit. The main character, Fr Michael, is haunted by memories of being bullied and abused at the hands of a grubby priest who taught him at school. The flashbacks keep assailing him just as he is at the most solemn part of Mass, the consecration of the bread and wine, making him stumble and freeze.

He is assailed by doubts: “I’m not a priest, I’m an imposter,” he groaned in the final episode. The irony is that we know, from everything we’ve seen him do over the series, that Fr Michael is in fact as terrific a priest as any community could hope to have.
 One of McGovern’s achievements (and Bean’s) is to give us that rare thing, a genuinely kind and selfless protagonist – who is at the same time conflicted and flawed (or else there would be no drama at all…)

He also has the hardest working conscience in Liverpool. What’s the right response if you discover one of your poorest parishioners (Anna Friel) has concealed her mother’s death in order to keep claiming her pension – a victimless crime if ever there was one? Fr Michael works it out. If a woman comes to you and calmly confesses she plans to take her own life, how do you react? Should you break the bond of the confessional to save her? Again, he steers a compassionate course through choppy ethical waters.

Not that he’s anyone’s clerical goody-goody. The scene where Fr Michael lays into local betting shops from the pulpit, condemning the fact that they install machines to prey on the city’s poorest, is full of the righteous anger that McGovern dishes out better than anyone. (It can make him preachy at times, but not here.) The scene that follows, where locals go out with baseball bats to solemnly smash in the machines has a real moral clout to it.

McGovern clearly respects religion – even fusty, dusty Catholicism – because he sees it bringing a moral yardstick to things. He values the way religion holds us to account, the way it offers ideals, however tarnished, and solace in tough times. He knows the sins of organised Christianity – and attacks them mercilessly in a way TV might shy away from with other religions – but in the end he draws a sympathetic picture.

All this is clearly at the opposite end of the spectrum from The Handmaid’s Tale, with its bitter portrait of a society ruled by evangelical thugs. That’s a brilliant piece of television – and with the kind of American budget and production values McGovern could only dream of. But in its way Broken offers a good counterweight. And if Bean isn’t nominated for a Bafta next spring, it’ll be the devil’s work.

Broken episode 6 review
Broken concludes with a moving episode that takes Father Michael to his lowest point and back…
If I had my druthers, Sean Bean would play Father Michael Kerrigan for the next thirty years and become as dissociable from the role as David Suchet in Poirot or Tom Baker in Doctor Who. Instead of Sharpe or Boromir or Ned Stark, the words ‘Sean Bean’ would instantly conjure up the image of a man in a cassock struggling to do good.

It won’t happen – Broken’s creator Jimmy McGovern has already suggested that it’ll be one and done for Bean, who, understandably, feels he’s gone as far as he can with the part. He is often one for an early exit, after all.

But he’ll be missed, because we need characters like Father Michael on television - people we can look up to, whose deeds and manner sustain us. We need to see characters whose heroism means pushing a vacuum cleaner around a grieving house or recognising that someone else is in pain and trying to ease it, with a smile, an anecdote, food vouchers, or a blistering speech on righteous anger.

(When Father Michael took on that grubby bookie - a peach of a cameo by Phil Davis - and sent his congregation onto the streets with hammers to smash those vampiric machines, they should have made him pope.)                     

At least we left him on a hopeful note. The characters we’ve watched him support over the last six emotional episodes gave him the It’s A Wonderful Life moment he deserves. Christina Fitzsimmons, P.C. Andrew Powell, Chloe Demichelis, Helen Oyenusi and more queued up to support him back. He finally made it through the consecration - the moment his subconscious had chosen to punish him repeatedly throughout the series - without a traumatic flashback. It may not mean he’s found peace, exactly, but he’s closer than before. 

Broken’s finale took Michael to his lowest point, but also included some of his lightest moments. Him singing with his brothers at their mum’s funeral and doing that can-fuelled fifty-yard dash in the rain were life-giving scenes. Their effervescence and overlapping chaos made a good contrast with the careful control of the speeches at Vernon’s inquest.

That too had a happy ending, of sorts. Helen Oyenusi was vindicated at least, and Vernon would be recorded as the victim of an unlawful killing instead of a dangerous and violent man. That was thanks to the strength of Andrew, who followed Father Michael’s guidance and example and told the truth even though it cost him dearly.

Father Michael chose not to tell the truth, or at least the whole truth, to his dying mum. He remembered much more than her being a wonderful mother, but cared too much about her feelings to confront her with old ghosts. Her death seemed to release him from a kind of purgatory. No more nights on the bedroom floor for him, and no more need to be a priest for her approval. If he stays in the church now, it’s because he wants to.
Broken was a gutsy series. It dramatised big themes—conscience, guilt, shame—and, with powerful writing and performances, told big stories about the Church, poverty and abuse. It’s made for bitter viewing at times but even at its toughest, there's been a lit candle glowing determinedly at its centre. Amen, Father Michael, you wonderful priest. And amen, Sean Bean, you wonderful actor.

Broken viewers call for Bafta for Sean Bean drama
Broken viewers have called for Sean Bean to be given a Bafta for his portrayal of a troubled Catholic priest in the TV drama.

Bean starred opposite Anna Friel in Jimmy McGovern’s powerful BBC series about a priest who was abused as a child and is now trying to help a poor northern community.

One viewer wrote on Twitter: “Seriously, just give the BAFTA to Sean Bean NOW… Boy, he has been magnificent in this,” while another said: “Sean Bean has been immense in #Broken. Every week he has delivered a acting masterclass that’s been compelling to watch. Worthy of awards.”

Another added: “Every member of the cast and crew deserves an award for their work in this drama. This drama must get a Bafta.” while one more said: “#Broken best drama this year. If Sean Bean doesn’t get a BAFTA there’s no justice in the world.”

Yet another said: “A BAFTA is definitely heading Sean Beans way, his acting in #Broken has been outstanding, there’s SO much emotion in his performance.”

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Clairette on July 05, 2017, 12:34:29 AM
Oh, that's the right review. ( (

Well finished e6.
I hope it will be the second season.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Clairette on July 05, 2017, 12:38:53 AM
“Seriously, just give the BAFTA to Sean Bean NOW…
( (

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on July 05, 2017, 12:47:06 AM
Oh, that's the right review. ( (

Well finished e6.
I hope it will be the second season.

Broken: Does THIS prove that Sean Bean will be BACK for a second series?

BROKEN'S finale broadcast this evening, leaving viewers calling for a second series.
All seemed like it was ending for Father Michael Kerrigan (played by Sean Bean) in tonight's episode after he made a confession and vowed to give up the priesthood.

However, in moving final scenes, the congregation each called Father Michael a "wonderful priest" one by one.

With a growing smile and glint in his eye as the episode cut to the credits, does this mean he will be back for more drama with a second series?

Fans praised the BBC and the show's writers following the episode, instantly taking to social media to "demand" the drama wins awards.
One viewer tweeted: "If Sean Bean doesn't win the BAFTA for #Broken, I will demand a recount and bust up something with a sledgehammer."

"I'm assuming #SeanBean, the cast, writers and crew will sweep every award going for the brilliant, bleak & beautiful #BROKEN," posted another.

A third added: "Broken worth every penny of my licence fee. Absolutely excellent #BROKEN," as a fourth said: "Watching #Broken. Fabulous TV. Sean Bean is great. Writing can't be faulted. Nice one BBC."
A fifth added: "#Broken Drama as art of the very highest order. Been a privilege to experience Jimmy McGovern's reflection of these lives. #Brilliant," as another noted: "#BROKEN Why have I got water coming from my eyes."

Sadly, Broken writer Jimmy McGovern exclusively told that he expects Sean Bean to "move on" following tonight's conclusion.

Broken: TV's unmissable answer to It’s a Wonderful Life – with added Sean Bean

Harrowing, heartbreaking and finally hopeful, Jimmy McGovern has taken a leaf out of Frank Capra’s book to serve up some staggering television
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Warning: this article contains spoilers from Broken on the BBC.

So Jimmy McGovern’s harrowing but hope-filled Broken ended the way it should: with redemption for Father Michael Kerrigan, and reaffirmation that even the smallest acts can truly bring about change.

McGovern has said that he saw the series – about a priest serving his community in the northwest of England – as a homage to It’s a Wonderful Life. And it is true that, like Frank Capra’s masterwork, Broken was ultimately a drama about the seemingly insignificant ways we touch people’s lives, and the sins of omission that can loom so large.

Father Michael, so brilliantly played by Sean Bean, was tormented by one such moment: his decision not to answer the phone to Helen Oyenusi (Muna Otaru) when she called to ask that he calm down her son. It was such a simple decision – haven’t we all looked at our phones and thought “I’ll call back tomorrow” – but then Vernon Oyenusi died, shot by a police officer. Father Michael not only had to live with the fallout, but also reckon with his failure to tell Helen he could have picked up her call.

Broken was full of such heartbreaking instances. In the first episode, Anna Friel’s Christina was fired for being late to work at the local bookies; her boss later admitted to Father Michael in confession that she had reacted so strongly because she’d had bad news of her own that morning.

But if McGovern homed in on how the most minute events can set off a cataclysm in someone else’s life, he also focused on the equally small acts of kindness that transform someone’s day. The headlines before the show aired spoke about Broken Britain, of poverty and debt and job losses. And while Broken did tackle these things with McGovern’s trademark blend of wit and rage, it was above all a celebration of community and the connections we should all try to find.

It was also about faith. McGovern is no longer a practising Catholic, and his leading man admits his childhood church attendance was sporadic at best. Yet Broken was an astute depiction of organised religion in general, and the Catholic church in particular. This was not television intent on mocking the church or its believers, nor keen to hammer home its many flaws. The abuse scandals, the attitude towards women, the obsession with ritual at the cost of reality were addressed, but overall the show was not condemnatory. Instead it interrogated the very nature of faith: what leads a person to believe, and why you might live out your entire life as an act of atonement.

Thus, one of the most interesting things about Father Michael was that despite the abuse he suffered as a child, at the hands of the fathers who taught him, and even though he applied those lessons to the wider world as a young man, he came to realise that they were wrong. He found faith and hugged it deep. He might have struggled with his vocation but he never lost faith. Not in his god, nor in the belief that there was goodness in this world.

It helped that Bean turned in the performance of his career. He showed us a conflicted man who channelled feelings of hopelessness into offering hope to others. We believed in Father Michael because Bean made us believe. It was a largely interior performance – we often understood his torment best when he said nothing – yet a powerful one, in which he showed us not just how a man like this might become a priest, but also, crucially, why he would remain one.

Some scenes, such as the moment in the finale when Father Michael’s sermon about money lenders led to the smashing of a bookie’s machines, were a little broad. But I would argue that this was a passion play, and that, as such, all biblical overtones were intentional. It is true, too, that McGovern took the sledgehammer approach at times, ramming home points about suffering and social injustice. Again, though, such passion felt justified. Television is less angry than it once was, and all the poorer for it: McGovern’s fury coupled with Bean’s despair made for an unmissable series.

Was the ending, with Father Michael’s parishioners queuing up to tell him that he was a wonderful priest, a deliberately sentimental echo of the final moments of It’s a Wonderful Life? Absolutely. But after six hours of bleak and bruising storylines, McGovern earned the right to a bit of redemption. Like Capra, he has always enjoyed throwing sentiment into the mix, and he gets away with it because of the power and the humour of what has come before. No other drama this year has cut me so deep to my core.

Broken's final episode blows everyone away as Sean Bean delivers an acting masterclass

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BC One's Broken came to a moving end tonight (July 4) as Sean Bean's Father Michael hit rock bottom before the series finished on an uplifting note.

He bravely faced his mother's death, but in the end decided not to tell her the entire truth of his abuse at the hands of a priest as a child, caring too much for her feelings to shatter her in her final hours.

Father Michael then presided over her funeral and stood alongside his brothers singing for her during the service, and eventually managed to make his way through the consecration without having flashbacks.

It was an hour of television that profoundly moved viewers, who immediately took to Twitter through tears at the show's final episode:

 Sean Bean was singled out for particular praise, amid numerous calls for his outstanding work on the series to be recognised with awards:

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Rebecca on July 05, 2017, 02:14:51 AM

Broken episode 6 review
Broken concludes with a moving episode that takes Father Michael to his lowest point and back…
If I had my druthers, Sean Bean would play Father Michael Kerrigan for the next thirty years and become as dissociable from the role as David Suchet in Poirot or Tom Baker in Doctor Who. Instead of Sharpe or Boromir or Ned Stark, the words ‘Sean Bean’ would instantly conjure up the image of a man in a cassock struggling to do good.

It won’t happen – Broken’s creator Jimmy McGovern has already suggested that it’ll be one and done for Bean, who, understandably, feels he’s gone as far as he can with the part. He is often one for an early exit, after all.

But he’ll be missed, because we need characters like Father Michael on television - people we can look up to, whose deeds and manner sustain us. We need to see characters whose heroism means pushing a vacuum cleaner around a grieving house or recognising that someone else is in pain and trying to ease it, with a smile, an anecdote, food vouchers, or a blistering speech on righteous anger.

(When Father Michael took on that grubby bookie - a peach of a cameo by Phil Davis - and sent his congregation onto the streets with hammers to smash those vampiric machines, they should have made him pope.)                     

At least we left him on a hopeful note. The characters we’ve watched him support over the last six emotional episodes gave him the It’s A Wonderful Life moment he deserves. Christina Fitzsimmons, P.C. Andrew Powell, Chloe Demichelis, Helen Oyenusi and more queued up to support him back. He finally made it through the consecration - the moment his subconscious had chosen to punish him repeatedly throughout the series - without a traumatic flashback. It may not mean he’s found peace, exactly, but he’s closer than before. 

Broken’s finale took Michael to his lowest point, but also included some of his lightest moments. Him singing with his brothers at their mum’s funeral and doing that can-fuelled fifty-yard dash in the rain were life-giving scenes. Their effervescence and overlapping chaos made a good contrast with the careful control of the speeches at Vernon’s inquest.

That too had a happy ending, of sorts. Helen Oyenusi was vindicated at least, and Vernon would be recorded as the victim of an unlawful killing instead of a dangerous and violent man. That was thanks to the strength of Andrew, who followed Father Michael’s guidance and example and told the truth even though it cost him dearly.

Father Michael chose not to tell the truth, or at least the whole truth, to his dying mum. He remembered much more than her being a wonderful mother, but cared too much about her feelings to confront her with old ghosts. Her death seemed to release him from a kind of purgatory. No more nights on the bedroom floor for him, and no more need to be a priest for her approval. If he stays in the church now, it’s because he wants to.
Broken was a gutsy series. It dramatised big themes—conscience, guilt, shame—and, with powerful writing and performances, told big stories about the Church, poverty and abuse. It’s made for bitter viewing at times but even at its toughest, there's been a lit candle glowing determinedly at its centre. Amen, Father Michael, you wonderful priest. And amen, Sean Bean, you wonderful actor.

Spot-on review.

"Amen, Father Michael, you wonderful priest. And amen, Sean Bean, you wonderful actor."

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Clairette on July 05, 2017, 03:30:38 AM
Spot-on review.

"Amen, Father Michael, you wonderful priest. And amen, Sean Bean, you wonderful actor."

That is bloody beautiful finale, right? ( (
Sean is great and brilliant, McGovern is also wow ( (
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on July 05, 2017, 05:06:29 AM
Broken, BBC One series finale review - Seán Bean's quiet immensity

The Catholic Church hasn’t enjoyed a good press on screen lately. Nuns punished Irishwomen for their pregnancies in Philomena. Priests interfered with altar boys in Spotlight. And in The Young Pope a Vatican fixated on conservatism and casuistry elects a pontiff who sees himself as a rock star. Broken was Jimmy McGovern’s agonised absolution for a church in crisis.

Over six parts on BBC One, Broken has felt like walking along half a dozen stations of the cross. McGovern’s portrait of a broken priest – and by extension, a broken priesthood – was exceptionally short on levity or solace. The doubts of Father Michael Kerrigan pursued him to the brink of despair, as he perceived in himself only failure and fraudulence. And the redemption when it came felt like a message from McGovern to the Roman Catholic church. Not quite keep calm and bugger on (because that has been part of the problem), but keep the faith, keep up the good work.

At times the drama looked like a greatest hits of McGovern’s obsessions and preoccupations. Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “The Wind Hover” first came up in The Lakes, the priest who is fearful of his own homosexuality in Priest. A character who couldn’t live with himself leapt off a high-rise building in Cracker. And from Cracker onwards, a constant thread of McGovern’s writing has been the moral dilemma of the priest, as a receptacle of terrible truths, who cannot break the seal of confession. Adrian Dunbar, who played one such priest in the very first episode of Cracker, completed the circle as a sort of benign father confessor to Father Michael Kerrigan in Broken.

 But it has all been very different too. Unlike the self-contained stories in McGovern's dramas The Street or Accused, the blighted lives of Broken’s parishioners spilled across one another. Only the fifth episode embarked on a plotline and concluded it, and it felt like one McGovern has been itching to tackle for years: the dialectical struggle between the letter and spirit of the Bible on the matter of homosexuality (eliciting a firecracker of a performance from Ned Dennehy as grieving, dope-smoking lapsed Catholic homosexual).

Elsewhere, a woman kept her mother’s death secret so she could claim her pension. A mentally ill boy was unlawfully killed by the police. A woman addicted to gambling abandoned her three children by committing suicide rather than face the shame of prison for theft. Her daughter took vengeance on the slot machines with a sledgehammer, allowing Phil Davis to march in and deliver two wonderfully contrasting cameos.

Sometimes it has felt as if McGovern and his co-writers (Shaun Duggan, Colette Kane, Nick Leather) were wielding a similar implement. But mostly the writing has been feather-light, and it has met with a performance of quiet immensity from Seán Bean as Father Michael, the priest who is never off duty (and the one moment he is, when he fails to answer the call of a parishioner, his conscience punishes him to the limits). Bean has made a career out of playing thugs and swashbucklers, so this staggering turn as a softly spoken hulk anguished by cruel memories from his youth came up on the blind side. His voice barely ever troubled the decibel counter until the final episode when he rose to righteous fervour in his sermon about the moneylenders in the temple. Of the many excellent performances, Muna Otaru as Helen Oyenusi and as Roz Demichelis (pictured below with Bean) stood out as a sort of suffering Madonna and self-punishing Mary Magdalene.

The dramatic structure was never more jaggedly imperfect than in the final episode, which was built around a tense inquest, a riotous wake, and a redemptive funeral. There was nothing so clean as closure in those flashbacks to Kerrigan’s haunting childhood, so reminiscent of Dennis Potter. A deathbed apology from his mother (Aine Ni Mhuiri) was all he got, and it had to be enough. And yet imperfection – the absence of conclusions – felt right.

Probably only McGovern could have got this series commissioned: six primetime hours devoted to matters of faith and conscience in a nominally Anglican culture. At least from Catholicism you get blood, guts and thunder, not the vanilla agonies and pastel ecstasies of the Church of England. The final absolution for Father Michael, in which his parishioners queued up at communion to thank and praise him, was also vintage McGovern: somewhere between unforgiveable and unarguable. Who else confesses that they were deeply moved?

Broken. Television Review.
The sense of social injustice is one that never leaves Jimmy McGovern, one of the true greats of modern British television he touches a raw nerve with his insight into the human condition and the anger inside; he also is one to not let sentiment take any prisoners if there is a moment of truth that will devastate the viewer but also send tidal waves of bitterness towards the uncaring forces that are supposed to be seen as leaders but in whom are, for the most part, uncaring, self serving shadows of men.

What Mr. McGovern and the team he has surrounded himself with in Broken has managed to do is beyond beautiful, reaching out far outside of disgust towards those who use religion as a means to push their own perverted sense of preaching and instead offering the picture of a flawed but decent human being caught up in the lives of both his parish and his own past.

To offer this level of compassion in a drama is normally one that would be seen as almost sugary, too sweet to be handled with more than a nod to thought of what a priest should be and yet with Sean Bean cast as the main character Father Kerrigan, a part that arguably doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of an actor who has played physically demanding characters all his life, that compassion shown is full of depth and honour.

Where the story perhaps truly hits home is with the parishioner Roz Demichelis whose addiction to gambling on fruit machines has spiralled out of control and who tells Father Michael of her plans to commit suicide as she confesses to having stolen her bosses’ money to fund the addiction

It is the heartbreaking reality of the situation which makes you look at the society you live in, where you can walk around a town for ten minutes and come across more betting shops, more casinos than could have ever been imagined 20 years ago; there all to offer a cheap thrill, the small gamble of the last five pounds that you have to last you, chasing the dream of a big win that will ease all your problems. Jimmy McGovern captures this particular social ill and disease with accuracy and the devastating fall out that is at times more destructive than any other compulsion.

With Sean Bean showing the same form on television as he has done throughout his illustrious career on film, and supported by superb performances by Muna Otaru and Paula Malcolmson, Broken is a powerful series that manages to show humanity at its best in amongst the grit, grime and lies of modern society that is devoid of faith.

Last night's TV review: Broken (BBC1): stretching credibility to breaking point
What would Jesus do? It’s a common enough question, and it'd be wrong to deride it. Whether you believe in talking donkeys or the Virgin birth or any of the other challenging stuff in the Bible, it is perfectly reasonable to consider some moral dilemma against the teachings of Christ, that usually being a reasonable approximation of a humane, if not humanist, solution.

What, then, do you think Jesus would have thought about Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, as legalised by, and regulated under, the Gambling Act 2005, one of the less lovely legacies of the Blair era? Father Michael (Sean Bean) in Broken was militantly clear: you should follow the example of Christ driving out the money changers from the temple.

 What’s more, Father Michael went on, according to St John’s Gospel Christ didn’t just chuck their tables around but took a whip to the olden days bankers as well – inflicting actual bodily harm on them. A sledgehammer, if not the whip, was what  one member of his flock, Chloe Demichelis (Lauren Lyle), had already taken into her local betting shop to end the productive lives of four FOBTs, which admittedly are the devil’s work.

It was an act, as the priest put it about Our Lord’s pioneering act of violence, of “righteous anger” against those who’d profit from the desperation of the needy. We had seen how Chloe’s mum had taken her own life after becoming addicted to them, the “crack cocaine of gambling”, as so many do. Morally defensible, but still criminal damage and leaves you open to a restraining order and a possible prison sentence. 

So the sixth episode of Broken was following the pattern of the previous five, grinding its way through the familiar series of social problems being endured by families just about not managing at the arse end of Theresa May’s Britain. Mental illness, pressurised police, food banks, truanting kids, gambling addiction, the benefits system – you name it, and there was usually a call in to the priest.

Some of the details of the various storylines, such as when Christina Fitzsimmons (Anna Friel) tries to deceive the authorities about the death of her mother in the first episode, may have stretched credulity, but the background reality cannot be challenged. If anything, as the Grenfell Tower disaster may yet prove, Broken’s unstinting catalogue of social evils understates what is happening to the poorest in society.

The actors’ performances and the photography in Broken were flawless, in the sense that they made the dramatic best of this subject matter. And yet the whole seemed less than the sum of its parts. This is because the central premise of a Roman Catholic priest occupied 24/7 with the most appalling crimes and circumstances were just not successful. Too many of the set-piece speeches were clumsily political, and even when characters were on hand to balance things. For example, Phil Davis was excellent as the vexed betting-shop owner, but his confrontation with Chloe was rendered as some sort of sub-Socratic dialogue. It didn’t work, despite the obvious skill and effort and passion writer Jimmy McGovern put into it.

Still, I could have forgiven Broken all of that sort of stuff were it not for a final scene, which saw some of his congregation repeatedly utter the mantra “you wonderful priest” to Father Michael as he dished out the wafers at Holy Communion. As someone brought up to believe in the Catechism literal truth of transubstantiation, which is that you are literally putting a sliver of the body of Christ in your mouth during Mass (a disturbing thought for an eight-year old fussy eater), I can believe most things – but I really couldn't believe that final scene. It was, frankly, ridiculous. Up to that point Father Michael had functioned as a sort of semi-credible cross between Mother Theresa and Dennis Skinner, but this is when all the tendentiousness and sentimentality just went absurd. The mass is ended, go in peace.

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on July 07, 2017, 12:34:12 AM
Sean Bean’s lessons for the C of E
ON TUESDAY night, more than four million of us watched the final episode of Broken, BBC1’s nail-biting saga. It tells the story of a few days in the life of an inner-city Roman Catholic priest, Fr Michael Kerrigan, played by Sean Bean (TV, 9 June).

Little in the six episodes of Broken would have surprised many clergy working in the inner cities, and, of course, nothing surprised Fr Kerrigan. He knew that his parish­ioner had delayed notifying the police about her mother’s death so that she could claim the pension. Mediating over an assault of a gay man by a BME man was all just part of everyday life.

Fr Kerrigan’s parishioners may have thought him “a wonderful priest”, but he was certainly not, in contemporary terms, very succes­s­ful. There was no sign of growth in his con­gregation, and nothing ap­­proach­ing “missional activity”.

Throughout the six episodes, Fr Kerrigan is haunted by his failure, exhausted at the end of a long day, to pick up an answerphone message that could have saved the life of a mentally ill young man. Later, he fails to prevent a mother killing herself, and, after trying to support a gay man, finds himself labelled “a bloody hypocrite” by the man. No increase in mass attendance here!

What seems so refreshing about Fr Kerrigan is that he is not a “super-priest”. He makes mistakes. He carries his own demons of being abused at school and ill-treated by his mother, and having ill-treated women in his youth. He is flawed and, by many standards, unspectac­ular.

 But he is there, in a life-giving way, for the mother with the men­tally ill son, the policeman who is under intense pressure to cover up the truth, the children whose mother has taken her life, and the woman who has been stealing from her employer; the list, over six weeks, went on. Time and again, he lights a candle “to remind us that Christ is here”, and, time and again, we sense that he is, too.

Somebody on social media has suggested that Broken should be used in clergy recruitment, and I think that this is right. The Church of England needs both the growth of the HTB plants and the apparently unsuccessful ministry of the priest in the supermarket aisle.

Broken gives us an overdue op­­por­­tunity to celebrate the latter.

Why BBC series Broken is an accurate portrayal of priesthood

The BBC drama series, Broken, has received rave reviews with many calling for lead actor Sean Bean to be awarded a BAFTA for his role. Many Church leaders have expressed how it accurately portrays the complexity of calling and serving God’s Church. Cindy Kent, explains what makes the series so poignant.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers*

It’s a drama series about a well-respected and much loved Catholic priest  - Fr Michael - presiding over a large parish on the outskirts of a major city in northern England. Sean Bean plays the troubled priest and plays it with all his body, mind and spirit. The six week series followed various strands – Fr Michael’s own abuse at the hand of another Catholic priest; the killing of a troubled young Black boy; the suicide of a woman who robbed her firm to feed her fruit machine addiction and more - an insight into the everyday life of a 21st Century urban parish priest

 writer Jimmy McGovern (Cracker, Hillsborough, and others) didn’t shy away from anything. He said, “Words are rungs on an emotional ladder. I've been in floods [writing this]. You can't expect an actor to cry unless you cry writing it.” We saw, through a series of flashbacks – and always at the point of the prayer of Consecration in the Mass – the insidious abuse Fr Michael had suffered as a schoolchild - the older Priest’s hand sliding up and under the hem of Bean’s short school trousers left little to the imagination – (but the programme makers didn’t feel the need to actually show what happened), and the abuse he himself had put young women and prostitutes through in his adult life.  I gather that Bean worried that he was too passive in the way he played Fr Michael – especially in the confessional scenes – but I think they were made more powerful by being underplayed. The people who came to him in there were overwhelmed by the weight of their sin and he took that from them and brought God into the picture.

The series covered many of the ills in today’s society, from foodbanks to the benefits system and biased cops and mental illness – all human life was there.  When a young attractive single mum confesses her theft of hundreds of thousands of pounds to feed her gaming machine habit and tells him that she’s going to kill herself, Fr Michael invites Jesus into the conversation by lighting a candle – to show that he is present. He’s wracked with guilt over knowing what she’s going to do and breaking the seal of the confessional.  In the end – she has the last word by changing her mode of suicide. He has to intervene between an arrogant bullying devout Bible basher and a loving, caring homosexual. And we agonise with him as he remembers not answering his phone late one night to help a teenager with mental health issues – the one who is subsequently killed by the police. His struggle with his humanity and imperfection is one with which every priest will identify.

But what made this series stand out from other programmes with a priest as the central character was the honesty with which the role was portrayed. He’s the sort of priest we all want in times of trouble or hardship and he has an integrity that all priests aspire to. He isn’t perfect, he’s broken, and we can identify with that with our own brokenness. When he finally manages to get through Mass without the flashbacks we rejoice.

However. The ending was – unlike the rest of the series – unrealistic.  Fr Michael is feeling low about how the locals will react to his honesty in not answering the phone on that fatal night and each parishioner supports him by responding during Mass to the words "the body of Christ broken for you" – with the words ‘Amen, you wonderful priest’.  I tried to imagine how I might feel if that happened to me and I heard alarm bells sounding!

McGovern himself says his life could have taken a very different turn and that he did feel he was called to the priesthood at one point, “I seriously considered it... but I'd have been a terrible priest.” Sadly, we have no way of knowing – but I’m glad he decided to write so that we could have such a brilliant series as Broken.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Rebecca on July 07, 2017, 01:07:26 AM
Broken viewers call for Bafta for Sean Bean drama (
Broken viewers have called for Sean Bean to be given a Bafta for his portrayal of a troubled Catholic priest in the TV drama.Bean starred opposite Anna Friel in Jimmy McGovern’s powerful BBC series about a priest who was abused as a child and is now trying to help a poor northern community.Can someone please …


After the final episode aired, one viewer wrote on Twitter: “Seriously, just give the BAFTA to Sean Bean NOW… Boy, he has been magnificent in this,” while another said: “Sean Bean has been immense in #Broken. Every week he has delivered a acting masterclass that’s been compelling to watch. Worthy of awards.”

Another added: “Every member of the cast and crew deserves an award for their work in this drama. This drama must get a Bafta.” while one more said: “#Broken best drama this year. If Sean Bean doesn’t get a BAFTA there’s no justice in the world.”

Yet another said: “A BAFTA is definitely heading Sean Beans way, his acting in #Broken has been outstanding, there’s SO much emotion in his performance.”

Bean’s co-star Friel heaped praise on the show, writing: “Just watched last episode of #BROKEN. Jimmy, Sean, mark, Ashley and Joel, everybody. Made me cry from beginning to end. Your talents amaze!”
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on July 07, 2017, 04:38:10 AM
Broken - Flawless depiction of a good priest
I was bracing myself for the final episode of Broken on BBC1 last night. But Jimmy McGovern’s pitch perfect writing and Sean Bean’s hypnotic, understated performance as Fr Michael Kerrigan did not disappoint. This drama portrays one of those many good priests, who has really taken to heart the advice of Pope Francis to bring the healing power of God’s grace to everyone in need, to stay close to the marginalised and to be “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.”

We are used to seeing clergy depicted performing their sacramental roles. But the huge amount of pastoral work the average Catholic priest does often goes unrecognised - the visits to the housebound, those in prison or in hospital, accompanying people in times of crisis. All those deaths, weddings, baptisms and funerals. All those problems. All that listening! This series has gone behind the scenes for what feels like a very authentic portrayal of life in a run down north country parish.

The plotline each week has been very tense and dark - but at the most difficult moments Fr Michael often pauses to light a candle - “to remind us that God is with us here” he says. Fr Michael is always the priest, not a social worker.

The series also shows something else we forget - our priests have private lives. They may not be married but they have siblings and aging parents that also need looking after. We see Fr Michael on his day off visiting his terminally-ill mother - week after week. His sister helps out but his brothers, who stopped going to church years ago aren’t much use.

Fr Michael is not shown as some insipid saint. He is also struggling with memories of very brutal childhood experiences at the hands of a predatory older priest and has a rough past. How does he come to terms with this? Watch the series.

There’s a beautiful scene in the first episode when Fr Michael recalls how he begins to rediscover his faith during a walk on the moors when he saw a falcon returning.

The series touches on many controversial issues - some episodes reminiscent of Ken Loach’s I Daniel Blake - although McGovern said he had no political intentions when he wrote the script. In an interview he said: “It’s about broken humanity. The idea that you’re at your strongest when you’re at your weakest.”

There’s a strong Eucharistic message throughout - with the community of broken people brought together as they hear the words 'This is My Body broken for You…' and line up to receive Holy Communion.

I hope Broken is watched and discussed in seminaries. I think it would also be useful with RCIA and other discussion groups.

Jimmy McGovern and Sean Bean deserve BAFTAs for this superb series. So does Anna Friel with Aisling Loftus and the rest of the cast.

Catch it on iplayer if you missed it.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Rebecca on July 07, 2017, 07:40:08 AM
Glad to see a review from a Catholic source. I can't work out why this is not generating more discussion in the Catholic blogosphere.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on July 09, 2017, 01:43:29 AM
( (
Broken, which ended its too-short run just as we were all beginning to fall a little bit in love with it, has brought a uniqueness to British TV this year in somehow managing to be both Kafkaesque and Capraesque. The former, in its portrayal of the savage non-choices daily facing the poor – the chronicling of such Sisyphean travails writer Jimmy McGovern has dedicated much of his life to – in tandem with the spirited evisceration of every political mindset that can ever judge, with squirrely impossibility, that the poor are poor because they’re taking all our money.
The latter, the Frank Capra element, arrived at the very end of last week’s closer, as the parishioners queued to essentially absolve Father Michael of his sins, such as they ever were. I defy anyone not to have simultaneously smiled and blinked back tears during the last five minutes, and it was shamelessly, undeniably, a long shiver of feel-good – but McGovern has never exactly subscribed to the Ken Loach school, preferring instead to pepper his agitprop with warmth, wit and very human seasoning.

Sean Bean, in what some are calling the performance of his life, showed that he can turn his once chiselled chops from mournful beleaguered action hero to mournful beleaguered magi. That’s not meant to diminish him: the jowly new plains of his face spoke volumes, mainly when he wasn’t doing any actual speaking himself, about conflicted men, and trying to do not just the right thing but for the right reason. Inter alia his character proved, by example, how religion can be a force for everyday good in society – not so much with the ecumenical niceties or the sweeping blandness, but simply by lifting a Hoover, pulling on the Marigolds, sliding someone an urgent fag, or taking a not even remotely metaphorical sledgehammer to the money-changers – a little over the top here but still, my, how we cheered. And we got a great cameo from Phil Davis as the tawdry slots boss, veering between wheedling reason and skull-beneath-the-skin anger. In fact the supporting cast, notably Anna Friel and Muna Otaru, have lent much to this triumph. Even the supporting music: Nina Simone’s bittersweet reworking of Randy Newman’s I Think It’s Going to Rain Today might have to become the theme song of 2017.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Rebecca on July 09, 2017, 03:18:28 AM
Kafkaesque and Capraesque.

Nice. Glad there are still a few good writers around.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on July 11, 2017, 04:16:16 AM
Sean Bean. What a revelation
I’ve been watching him in awe in the excellent Jimmy McGovern-scripted drama Broken, which drew to a close this week, as a troubled Catholic priest tending to his flock in a deprived area of a Northern city. I’ve always thought of the Sheffield-born actor as watchable, reliable, capable and convincing in any of the many and varied roles he has played. True, he is not the most chameleon-like of actors – there is always, it seems to me, an element of himself in whichever character he is portraying, not least in the fact that his lines are more often than not delivered in that unmistakable gruff south Yorkshire growl – but there is never any faulting his honesty.
His performances are always wholly authentic whether he’s playing rugged military man Richard Sharpe in the Napoleonic War-set historical drama Sharpe, Boromir in Lord of the Rings, Ned Stark in Game of Thrones or an outrageously louche and sexy Mellors in the 1993 BBC adaptation of D H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. So, let’s just say I’ve always been a bit of a fan, but I have to admit I had not – until now – fully appreciated quite how talented he is. His performance as Father Michael Kerrigan was as heart-breaking as it was mesmerising. Dealing gently and thoughtfully with the complex needs of his parishioners whose lives are blighted by poverty and a broken, overstretched welfare system, Father Michael had his own demons to contend with. Bean’s ravaged features eloquently expressed an entire hinterland of weary empathy, inner turmoil and traumatic past. In many scenes Bean was entirely silent but he nevertheless communicated heartfelt emotions that frequently moved me to tears. For me Broken was one of the most powerful dramas – and Bean’s the most truthful and affecting performance – that I’ve seen on television in years. Maybe it spoke to something deep in my lapsed Catholic heart, but there was more to it than that.

This story was about social injustice, humanity, pain, guilt, decency and redemption. Neither did the script gloss over the darker and more shameful aspects of the Catholic church. McGovern always knew what Bean was capable of. They have often worked together and in a recent Guardian feature he was quoted as saying: “I always go back to Sean – I just think he’s world class. People know he’s good, but I know he’s great.” We all know now. There will be BAFTAs, surely. McGovern and Bean are quite a double-act. Let’s hope they are both – together or separately – back on our screens again soon.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: Rebecca on July 11, 2017, 07:45:38 AM
delivered in that unmistakable gruff south Yorkshire growl
Um, yeah, that's part of why women find him so fucking sexy.

In many scenes Bean was entirely silent but he nevertheless communicated heartfelt emotions that frequently moved me to tears. For me Broken was one of the most powerful dramas – and Bean’s the most truthful and affecting performance – that I’ve seen on television in years. Maybe it spoke to something deep in my lapsed Catholic heart, but there was more to it than that.
Yes, the most astounding drama in years. For many reasons. For every reason.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on July 14, 2017, 12:15:48 AM
  The British Netflix mini-series starring Sean Bean as a Catholic priest is an interesting (and flawed) take on modern sacerdotal life. Fr. Michael Kerrigan leads a rather grim and joyless existence as the pastor of a gorgeous gothic structure with very few congregants. He's intimately involved in his parishioners' lives and knows them well. He's well-rounded in that he enjoys some bowling and pub-time with friends here and there, but is ever-ready for the emergencies (spiritual and otherwise) of his flock.


 Many contemporary realities are presented: immigration, "hate crimes," single parenting, clergy sex abuse, mental illness, suicide, and we follow certain characters through all five episodes. Is there an "agenda" here? Sort of.  The screenwriter is baby boomer Jimmy McGovern from Liverpool, so some issues are presented through that hackneyed narrative of "Why can't Catholics just get with it and follow whatever the culture is doing?"

First, what's good about "Broken": the fact that people care about the daily life of a priest! "Broken" has many similarities to the film (not the book) "Diary of a City Priest," a lovely little depiction of a priest in a dying parish in the inner city who leads an unglamorous, uneventful life, and perhaps even wonders if he's doing any good. The answer is yes: A lot of good for both the upwardly mobile and the down and out in his little corner of the world, one needy person at a time.


"Broken" also shows Fr. Michael going to a priest friend (approximately his same age) to talk over personal and pastoral matters. As he's faced with tricky conscience conundrums, he doesn't take them lightly, but is intent on doing the right thing, not the easy thing. (I would have liked to have seen him in prayer more often, however.) Being that Sean Bean is such a looker, I thought they would have the usual  "Thornbirds" Priestly Sexual Temptations. But, no. Fr. Michael seems to have a good grasp on his celibate vocation. "Broken" is also not "Nothing Sacred" (a short-lived American take on a priest having every kind of crisis imaginable simultaneously: existence, faith, Church teaching, etc.).

SPOILER: The fact that Fr. Michael was fondled by a priest-teacher when he was young haunts him, and he eventually confronts this hideous man (he's truly hideous) with so much intensity (but without laying a hand on him), that we are able to get a glimpse of what sexual abuse does to children. The even greater psychological abuse was from his own mother, and we see frequent flashbacks of this. We wonder how both of these harrowing realities of his young life affected his sense of his calling, but to the credit of the filmmakers, there seems to be a bit of a separation there--not just a fatalistic: he was driven to it by circumstances.

At other times, characters have strange, unemotional reactions to traumas that would simply break Americans. But I think what we're seeing is the Brit's "stiff upper lip" thing in all its glorious inaction. It never fails to startle me. :)


What's not so great about "Broken"? Sadly, Fr. Michael thinks that the reason there's no female priesthood is because men afraid of women's sexuality. Sigh. He also seems a bit cowed by "well, this is the way we do things now" (e.g., only offering Confession face to face)--regardless of options and how he thinks things should be done and him taking charge. Often, when Fr. Michael states Catholic teaching, it's clinical and without understanding it, owning it or embracing it, like some unfathomable dictate of the universe. There's a kind of guy's approach to it all (with maybe a touch of reverence, but maybe not): "These are the rules. Rules are good. They don't have to make sense." BUT, we know that :

 "God has given us the wisdom
 to understand fully the mystery
 the plan he was pleased to reveal in Christ." --Ephesians 1:8-9

Fr. Michael even admits to his clerical buddy that he thinks the Church's teaching on sex is a crock.


 Everyone in "Broken" is in need of a bracing and liberating dose of Theology of the Body.

The story regarding an older "gay" man who is rebuffed badly by a Catholic Trinidadian father (and told by said father to stay away from his two young sons who were taunting him) is a mixed bag. It's a complex story that involves a rigid understanding and uncharitable application of Catholic teaching (the Trinidadian), as well as excessive "hate crime" legislation. There is also a confusion of "homosexual orientation" with "homosexual acts." Arrrrgggghhhh. But there is a truly nuanced ongoing conversation in this episode about what it's like to experience life as "a gay man," to grow up "being gay," and to be bullied for it (this bullying does not necessarily even cease in adulthood).

No Church teaching on any issues is ever explained in "Broken." (But have you ever seen that in any secular TV/film story?) That's the rub. Even the adamant Trinidadian father, who is willing to go to prison for his beliefs, can't explain why certain sexual behavior is wrong (cleverly, the "gay" man in question is celibate).

In the end, I believe that the creators of "Broken" would really, really, really like to hear the Church's teachings intelligently, coherently and life-givingly explicated. Just once. Call me.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on July 15, 2017, 02:20:44 AM
Has Jimmy McGovern’s Broken redeemed religion for our times?

I am not a believer myself, but that shouldn’t preclude me from understanding why others are
I recently discovered that the “Whit walks” I watched as a child were specific to the north of England, and to Manchester in particular. I thought every town in Christian England had one, but apparently the custom of marking Whitsuntide with processions of excited children done up in their Sunday best dates from the annual closing of the northern mills, and it’s in the north – mills or no mills – that the tradition is still honoured.

Whether it was because the walks gave mixed cultural signals, or my upbringing left me in ignorance of their significance, I don’t know, but they seemed part bridal, with the girls in their snowy dresses, part May queen festival and part brass band competition. Whatever they were about, they made me feel there was an England that would remain forever foreign to me. Jimmy McGovern’s Broken on the BBC has taught me that there’s a simpler way of understanding why girls like to wear white dresses, and that is that girls like to wear white dresses.

The scene, in an early episode, where the girls troop proudly into church in their confirmation frocks – one of them fitted with its own internal system of winking fairylights – was worth a dozen Baftas in itself. The category? Humanity.

But then, that goes for the entire series. Has McGovern redeemed religion for our times? The usual role a priest plays in dramas of social deprivation is that of pantomime villain: heartless, out of touch and like as not pederastic. But McGovern has been taking another look. Suddenly, as though a long-forgotten language has been revived, the sentence “God bless you” dispenses a benignity, not just on those to whom Sean Bean’s Father Michael Kerrigan, delivers it, but on the whole devastated community. God bless you, because no one else will. God bless you, because the very idea of blessedness is once again a necessity. God bless you, because – God knows – we’ve tried saying everything else.

The more familiar territory, including abuse, is still covered. This is no whitewash. Father Michael is himself unable to forget the damage done to him by the church, but the story doesn’t end there. Every time I’ve closed my eyes these last weeks, I’ve seen those girls, shy but proud, in their snow-white confirmation dresses. I am not a believer myself, but that shouldn’t preclude me from understanding why others are. If Broken showed us anything, it’s that judgments made from a position of enlightened superiority get us nowhere. It’s imagining the way life presses on people, not scorning the choices they make, that’s divine.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on July 25, 2017, 07:47:48 AM
Broken shows us what needs fixing around us whilst also being quality viewing
  priest acts as the glue that holds a broken community together in present-day England.
 Father Michael Kerrigan (Sean Bean) is the parish priest for an urban community in the north of England. Week in, week out, he plays the role of confidant and counsellor to his parishioners alongside his mandatory church duties. However what he deals with on a day-to-day basis, alongside the trauma he has struggled with since being abused as an altar boy, leads him to question everything he has always believed in, and whether any of what surrounds him, including himself, can ever really be fixed.

Well, I’ve to be honest here and say that this was a show and a half. Broken is the show that this country needs right now because of what it covered. It highlighted so many of the things that are going wrong at the minute; shed a light on social issues that perhaps not everyone is aware of, or if they are, is not familiar with just how serious a problem they might be. What made this so great though was the fact that despite dealing with some very real issues, the show delivered plenty of laughs along the way. Not bad for a drama with Austerity Britain at the heart of it, eh?

I loved Sean Bean as Father Michael Kerrigan. He was so human and sincere with everything he tried to do, and it was so obvious that he struggled with a number of the church’s policies that are a bit outdated today. Bean really was tremendous in the role, and made me totally forget that I’d ever seen him as any villainous character in the past. He brought a sense of genuine compassion to Michael, and also a hefty amount of personal struggle, and I’m sure that this was helped massively by his own working class upbringing. Bean was also flanked by a number of familiar faces, including Anna Friel, Adrian Dunbar (Ted ‘Fella’ Hastings in Line Of Duty) and also Ray Donovan’s Paula Malcomson, which was nice to see, because it felt like there was a lot of celebrity backing for the social change that needs to take place before too many more people fall through the cracks.

 Broken was written by acclaimed writer Jimmy McGovern, who has brought us some excellent pieces of television on more than one occasion before, and who has also collaborated with Bean before this. Shows that I can recall include Accused and Common, and it’s clear that McGovern has a major talent in bringing us prime time viewing that centres around big contemporary issues, however he also has a knack for not making things too depressing all the time. He well and truly excelled himself here, covering a number of problems faced by the less fortunate in this country right now such as the faults with the welfare system and the lack of provision for mental healthcare on the NHS. McGovern offered so much food for thought with his latest project, and I for one am certainly looking forward to what he brings us next.

That’s it really, I don’t know what more I can add. Broken made a statement on mainstream British TV that was watched by millions at a time when a statement needed to be made. It is essentially a very simple drama done very well, with some very significant people behind it, believing in the message it delivers. I feel as though this review might have done the show a massive injustice, and I can only apologise for that. All I can say is if you haven’t seen Broken yet, whether you live in this country or not, watch it, because I believe it could very well be a reflection of what is going on in many places, and shows exactly why things need to change.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on August 01, 2017, 07:32:43 AM
BBC’s #Broken: 5 things it revealed about Christianity and Faith
I’m sure, like many others, you have been inspired by the Jimmy McGovern series Broken on BBC One over the last few weeks. If you haven’t seen it yet it’s worth trying to still catch up on the iPlayer or getting hold of the DVD which is out now.

Of course, having written a book about the portrayal of priests on the TV, I took a very close interest in this drama! It absolutely exceeded my expectations. In my book I spoke about how we shouldn’t expect too much of television programmes in terms of accurate portrayals of priests because TV is made to entertain and the quiet, faithful, work of ordinary Christians or priests isn’t necessarily interesting or entertaining. I now take that back!

I have done my best to avoid spoilers in this piece, so do read on.

Here are 5 things that I feel this remarkable drama revealed about Christianity, Priesthood and Faith:

The Nature of the Priesthood

I, along with many others, feel that this series truly captured much of the nature of what it is to be a priest. The self-doubt that comes with being a spiritual leader (Fr Michael, Sean Bean’s character, struggles throughout with feelings of inadequacy to the task) alongside the dilemma of wanting to switch off at the end of a long day just as another person calls on your time. The power of just giving people time and listening to their stories. The dogged persistence in offering pastoral care – sometimes when it’s not initially welcomed. The priest’s role as pointing to the presence of Christ all around us all the time – Fr Michael’s character repeatedly lighting a candle to tell people of this. All of these things are part of what it is to be a priest and there has never been a more nuanced or accurate portrayal of this on the television. Read more about this in this article by Cindy Kent.

The Power of the Eucharist

Every episode involves Fr Michael saying mass and as the series goes on the centrality of the mass/eucharist/holy communion only becomes more clear. The power of the body and blood of Christ offered in love for the whole world is evident throughout. This is true not only for Fr Michael himself, as we see that he struggles with his own sin each time he says mass but also for his congregation for whom many it is a lifeline. Read more about this in my article about Corpus Christi.

The radical nature of Christianity

when-someone-asks-you-what-would-jesus-do-remind-them-24587009Every priest and every church group struggles with the often wide chasm between the institutional church and the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is also touched upon throughout the series. Fr Michael preaches about when righteous anger might be appropriate; he speaks his mind on women in ministry; he questions the spending of hundreds of pounds on confirmation dresses. The series also touches on the child abuse scandals to have hit the church. What shines through, rather wonderfully in my view, is that the teachings and example of Jesus are way more important that the institutional structures of the church. It was a relief to see this portrayed so well in the programme, and that it revealed how tangled and messy it all is.

 The value of the Church’s ministry

I recently tweeted about an increase in people training for the priesthood in the Church of England. Someone replied by saying ‘not relevant in the 21st century’. My reply could well have been ‘have you watched Broken?’ If there was any doubt that the church isn’t needed in the 21st century, this series, (perhaps unwittingly) proved otherwise! In an interview, the writer Jimmy McGovern spoke about how the church is needed at key moments of people’s lives such as birth and death. One of the characters in the drama walks into church because she can’t think of where else to go. Often, in my own ministry I am struck that the church offers things that are very difficult to find elsewhere – where do you go if you’ve done something you regret? Where do you go when you want to mark a big event in your life? Where do you go if you want to organise a funeral? Where do you go if you can’t feed your kids? The vast majority of Food Banks (which are also referred to in Broken) are run by Churches. I’m not saying that these things aren’t found in other religions or in some charitable organisations but if you took the church out of the picture altogether it is clear that society would be hugely impoverished. Broken was a great response to that person who told me that priests were irrelevant in the 21st Century. Jimmy McGovern in the same interview referred to the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and how the main character after doubting the value of his life is shown what the world would look like without him in it. This was one of McGovern’s inspiration for the character of Fr Michael.

The world and faith are not black and white

The series artfully explores a variety of complex moral dilemmas – should I tell the truth, even if it might harm my family? Are my motives pure or am I really doing this for my own benefit? Broken also challenges what ‘success’ looks like. Fr Michael’s congregation is tiny but his impact on the individuals with whom he works is huge. In a world, and, unfortunately sometimes, a church, that prizes numbers and ‘bums on seats’, this was refreshing and revealed that value is not necessarily found in flashy success. A friend of mine went to a course for small churches called ‘a satsuma is not a failed orange’ – this encapsulates something of what Broken showed about Fr Michael’s ‘success’ as a priest. Read more about this in an article by the Bishop of Jarrow.

I’m sure there are many more lessons to be gleaned from this series, it was beautifully filmed and written and went to depths rarely plumbed by television drama. I hope it wins all the awards going!

Here are some interesting clips to watch about the making of the show:

Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on August 07, 2017, 09:28:33 AM
Noteworthy Performances: Sean Bean in ‘Broken’
I’ve been aware of Sean Bean for a long time. He does action adventure-y, fantasy type things (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Equilibrium, Troy, Patriot Games, etc.) The fact that so many of the characters he plays die and quite violently is something of a cultural phenomenon. There are hashtags out there to prove it.

I also know he was an object of affection in the Vicar of Dibley…

That’s why I was so impressed to see Bean  in Broken, the Jimmy McGovern-penned BBC drama about a Catholic priest in a Northern English parish trying to serve his soul weary, poverty-stricken flock while wrestling with his own demons. If you’re not familiar with McGovern, he is the king of working class despair and I admire his ability to depict humanity and compassion in even the most desperate circumstances.

Sean was exquisite as Father Michael Kerrigan. Michael is a good man. He’s selfless, empathetic, fun-loving and approachable. He also notices when people are hurting and yearns to help them.

His dedication to God is strong and his desire to emulate Jesus is obvious in the rebellious incitement of his parishioners to smash up the local betting machines that have ruined so many lives.

And he is honest to a fault. When his mentor and friend Father Flaherty (Adrian Dunbar) advises him not to reveal a hurtful but irrelevant fact at an inquest, Michael feels compelled to admit to a brief slight of his duties to set the record straight.

But he’s not perfect. Sometimes he’s unsure what to say to make things better or how to ease his parishioners’ burdens. And no one is harder on Michael than he is on himself. He has flashbacks of his misdeeds and poor judgement. He also struggles to forgive the serious offenses committed against him in his youth.

While I watched Bean’s  performance I didn’t think of Ned Stark or Boromir or Richard Sharpe. I felt I was witnessing the authentic heart-felt efforts of a man of faith – to care for his dying mother, to comfort a mother who has lost her son, to counsel a police officer trying to do the right thing and to guide a desperate woman to take responsibility for a profane act.

Most compelling were his conversations with Roz (Paula Malcolmson), a woman shamed by what her gambling addiction led her to do and resigned to committing suicide over it.  She challenged Michael to show her a light at the end of the tunnel and also to confront the darkest episodes of his own past.


We travel with Sean’s character through a wealth of emotions from impotence and grief to empowerment and grace. The end of that final episode made all the misery and striving worth every emotional second. I sat there with tears streaming down as the people who Michael thought he had disappointed, let him know otherwise. I’m not a religious person, but I think I would feel completely comfortable confiding in Father Kerrigan. Sean Bean’s portrayal combined an essence of benevolence and social justice tempered with very human self-doubt. It gave me a glimmer of hope in a time when people judge with haste and hate too easily.

I watched this six part series on the video sharing site, Dailymotion. Not ideal, but I hope Broken will eventually come to a reputable US streaming service or perhaps even PBS. More people should be aware of this inspiring journey and Bean’s must-see (and perhaps BAFTA-worthy) performance.
Title: Re: "Broken" Reviews
Post by: patch on April 13, 2018, 01:50:15 AM
How Sean Bean gets the life of a parish priest right in a new BBC show
What makes a good priest? Is it who he is, or more what he does? Thomas Aquinas held that we are what we do and we do what we are. Perhaps that is a bit circular, and surely for the parish priest, like for anyone in any vocation, it makes it easier to handle such circularity if there is a model who demonstrates what goodness might mean in action.

Father Michael Kerrigan, the central character in the 2017 BBC series “Broken”(available to stream in the United States on BritBox), is one such model. Kerrigan (played by Sean Bean of “Lord of the Rings”and “Game of Thrones”fame) is a parish priest in a small, struggling city in the north of England. It is a place whose people suffer many traumas: loss of jobs, destructive addictions, hostility between law enforcement and citizens, all resulting in spiritual malaise.

In Kerrigan’s parish, people’s lives are rough and full of morally fraught, unnavigable situations. Yet, this is also a place of fierce mutual regard and firm, practical acts of mercy. It is a community where the civic and religious are reasonably comfortable side by side, which means that Father Michael has an important role to play in service to people in town, be they Catholic or otherwise.

Although the neighborhoods I serve in Brooklyn are by and large more affluent and economically secure than Kerrigan’s, they still present their own share of challenges, just like any urban community. My borough is the location for some of the most energetic (some would say aggressive) residential and commercial property development in the city. To be sure, new construction brings more people, activity and money into a neighborhood, but it also displaces and pushes away the less-advantaged folks I have come to know over the years. A multitude of anxieties weave their way in and through all of the fresh new venues rising up into the skyline: fear of falling through financial and social cracks (for the elderly), anxiety over how to pay off student loan debt and how to plan for a full life (on the part of the young), and for the poor, the grinding struggle for security for just one day. So I can empathize with the complicated posture Kerrigan feels he must take toward the needs and realities of the people he lives among.

Sin, atonement and the paradoxical call, as Catholics, to be both rooted in tradition and responsive to the present are central in “Broken.” Kerrigan has a rich variety of people in his life. He has warm, frank relationships with his siblings, a compassionate spiritual director, and a clear mission, even though the constant demands he faces exhaust him. Kerrigan has developed a unique approach to priestly life: keep your voice low, attend to the person right in front of you, say something disarming, and then finally, as priest, introduce the note of redemption already present in the circumstances.

Personally, I like his approach. It is practical and, as we learn progressively through the series, it provides a way for Kerrigan to handle his own spiritual need to be grounded. For Kerrigan, priesthood appears to be an attempt, at least in part, to make himself whole. For myself, and probably for many priests, the discovery that what one does for others in ministry emerges from one’s own wounds might be surprising. But the epiphany comes after just a little time in the field.

Kerrigan bears his own wounds as he ministers to other people’s. He is haunted by flashbacks of sinister and shockingly cruel events from his past that touch on the most fractured experiences of his childhood. These unwelcome memories come inconveniently at the consecration during Mass, the point of the liturgy where the priest as alter Christus should set aside his own self to present to the faithful the Divine Self. These reminders torture the priest, and he has no idea how to resolve them or to understand their meaning.

The dialogue and actions presented are accurate to the inner landscape of a priest and to the details of his pastoral tasks. As a member of a religious community, a group that makes the unusual decision to remain in one place for life, I am lucky enough to rely on familiar people, those with whom I have lived and worked at this point for almost 25 years. And though community life can bring daily irritations, it is the greatest of blessings as well. You learn through the ups and downs of common life the truth that ultimately eases human anxiety: that you are never alone.

Kerrigan does not enjoy this blessing. He lives alone. But he creates for himself bonds of unity through his interactions with parishioners, a unity often conveyed on screen through exquisite visual symbols—notice the careful lighting of a single candle again and again by Kerrigan’s hands—and a slower pace of dialogue and intense facial expressions that invite the spiritual appreciation of the moment to sink in.

By the final episode, Father Michael does not totally resolve the turbulence inside of himself but he does become aware, appropriately at the celebration of Mass, that his own agony can be absorbed by entering into a spirit of forgiveness, both given and received. But this should not surprise.