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David Bowie In The Frame For Bbc Cop Drama Luther

Total Blam Blam's picture
on June 30, 2011

Something I could keep, Buy a little frame, Something cheap, For you...

Those of you who have been following the BBC's excellent police detective, crime drama doo dah, Luther, will no doubt have already noticed the things I'm about to point out to those that haven't been watching.

If you intend to buy the DVDs or watch the current series on iPlayer, I should warn you that this piece contains spoilers.

To set the scene, here's the BEEB's blurb regarding the London-located programme...

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A dark psychological crime drama starring Idris Elba (The Wire) as DCI John Luther, a near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can't always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions. Luther is a man struggling with his own terrible demons, who might be as dangerous as the depraved murderers he hunts.

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If you haven't seen Luther, perhaps you're familiar with British actor Idris Elba's character Russell "Stringer" Bell in The Wire.

Anyway, in Luther, Elba's character is a very smart, not-to-be-messed-with kind of guy who enjoys the thrill that living precariously gives him.

He seems to have become even more reckless in series two following the murder of his estranged wife, Zoe, in series one, to the point of playing solo Russian Roulette in his apartment before leaving for work.

And though I certainly wouldn't like to think there is a stereotypical Bowie fan, Luther wouldn't have particularly struck me as being a likely candidate to favour the cut-up technique that David Bowie adopted in the 1970s.

The scene above is from episode four of the first series, Decoupage. Luther is sat surrounded by pictures related to the murder he is currently attempting to solve. He is joined by DS Justin Ripley, who is sat on the desk opposite and eventually by DCI Ian Reed, to his right.

Here follows the dialogue between them...

Ripley: What's all this?
Luther: Decoupage, the cut-up technique. Take a bit of text, cut it up, randomise it, make new text, see new patterns.
Ripley: Where did you learn this?
Luther: David Bowie, it's how he wrote his lyrics.
Ripley: Are you a fan?
Luther: Don't I look like a fan?
Ripley: What, songs about like aliens 'n that?
Luther: There's a bit more to him than aliens, I'll make you a tape.
Ripley: A what, sorry?

DCI Ian Reed enters the scene, a man who is clearly more canny than Ripley...


Reed: Ah, gone all David Bowie on us.

A brief aside...Reed is played by actor Steven Mackintosh, who you may remember played the Charlie Kay character in The Buddha of Suburbia...among many other impressive roles.

Anyway, when series one ended, I expected the above exchange to be a surreal one-off reference...but there was more to come in season two..

In the picture at the top of this piece, two important characters in the series two sub-plot, Jenny Jones and the menacing Toby Kent, (yep....Jones, Kent) are pictured in one of the more harrowing scenes...though there are many.

Jones has been taken under Luther's wing after he rescued her from the clutches of Kent's gang and enforced prostitution.

Naturally, a psychopath such as Toby Kent wouldn't allow such a loss without some form of compensation, and so he embarked on a series of blackmails wherein Luther had to hand over intelligence regarding other crime bosses...obviously at a high risk to his own job

Not happy with Luther's tardy progress in response to his latest demand, Kent makes good on his threat and tracks down Jenny Jones to Luther's apartment while he is out.

Jones herself had just returned to the apartment with a wrapped gift for Luther, which she leaves on a table for his return as a token of her appreciation for his help.

Here's the dialogue that follows after Kent spies the gift on the table...

Kent: What's that?
Jones: (While struggling to keep the gift from Kent) It's not yours.
Kent: (Tears paper off while holding a knife to reveal the above signed print of a live Bowie shot from 1976) Ooooh...Oooh. David Bowie. Oh my god, that is so sweet.
Jones: You do know you're ill? There's something wrong with you.
Kent: Yeah apparently there is...

Kent then goes on to describe a particularly grizzly and horrifically graphic childhood memory of his first forays in to animal dissection.

This second reference to Luther's love of Bowie got me thinking that scriptwriter Neil Cross must be a bit of a fan. It didn't take me long to find this from the current issue of booknotes...which not only betrays his fondness for Bowie but also hints at his generally dark outlook that comes through so strongly in Luther...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Neil Cross

When I want to feel like I could go outside, pick up my car and throw it past the horizon, I crank up David Bowie?s post-apocalyptic, post-glam masterpiece Diamond Dogs. If I need to get my head into the kind of dank place where bad things dwell, it?s Swans? remorseless and frankly terrifying Great Annihilator.

When I need something spectral that taps directly into the English folk subconscious, it?s Laura Marling?s ?Alas I Cannot Swim?. This morning I bought Zoe Keating?s One Cello x 16: Natoma. I?m listening to it now, and I?ll be listening to it a great deal more over the coming months.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The final episode of series two of Luther airs at 9:00pm on Tuesday 5th July on BBC One, while a DVD box set of both series one and two is due on the 11th.

Just realised that the headline of this piece could be taken the wrong way....hope I didn't get your hopes up too high.

blog image: 
    30 June 2011
    David Bowie In The Frame For Bbc Cop Drama Luther

    Something I could keep, Buy a little frame, Something cheap, For you...

    Those of you who have been following the BBC's excellent police detective, crime drama doo dah, Luther, will no doubt have already noticed the things I'm about to point out to those that haven't been watching.

    If you intend to buy the DVDs or watch the current series on iPlayer, I should warn you that this piece contains spoilers.

    To set the scene, here's the BEEB's blurb regarding the London-located programme...

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A dark psychological crime drama starring Idris Elba (The Wire) as DCI John Luther, a near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can't always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions. Luther is a man struggling with his own terrible demons, who might be as dangerous as the depraved murderers he hunts.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If you haven't seen Luther, perhaps you're familiar with British actor Idris Elba's character Russell "Stringer" Bell in The Wire.

    Anyway, in Luther, Elba's character is a very smart, not-to-be-messed-with kind of guy who enjoys the thrill that living precariously gives him.

    He seems to have become even more reckless in series two following the murder of his estranged wife, Zoe, in series one, to the point of playing solo Russian Roulette in his apartment before leaving for work.

    And though I certainly wouldn't like to think there is a stereotypical Bowie fan, Luther wouldn't have particularly struck me as being a likely candidate to favour the cut-up technique that David Bowie adopted in the 1970s.

    The scene above is from episode four of the first series, Decoupage. Luther is sat surrounded by pictures related to the murder he is currently attempting to solve. He is joined by DS Justin Ripley, who is sat on the desk opposite and eventually by DCI Ian Reed, to his right.

    Here follows the dialogue between them...

    Ripley: What's all this?
    Luther: Decoupage, the cut-up technique. Take a bit of text, cut it up, randomise it, make new text, see new patterns.
    Ripley: Where did you learn this?
    Luther: David Bowie, it's how he wrote his lyrics.
    Ripley: Are you a fan?
    Luther: Don't I look like a fan?
    Ripley: What, songs about like aliens 'n that?
    Luther: There's a bit more to him than aliens, I'll make you a tape.
    Ripley: A what, sorry?

    DCI Ian Reed enters the scene, a man who is clearly more canny than Ripley...


    Reed: Ah, gone all David Bowie on us.

    A brief aside...Reed is played by actor Steven Mackintosh, who you may remember played the Charlie Kay character in The Buddha of Suburbia...among many other impressive roles.

    Anyway, when series one ended, I expected the above exchange to be a surreal one-off reference...but there was more to come in season two..

    In the picture at the top of this piece, two important characters in the series two sub-plot, Jenny Jones and the menacing Toby Kent, (yep....Jones, Kent) are pictured in one of the more harrowing scenes...though there are many.

    Jones has been taken under Luther's wing after he rescued her from the clutches of Kent's gang and enforced prostitution.

    Naturally, a psychopath such as Toby Kent wouldn't allow such a loss without some form of compensation, and so he embarked on a series of blackmails wherein Luther had to hand over intelligence regarding other crime bosses...obviously at a high risk to his own job

    Not happy with Luther's tardy progress in response to his latest demand, Kent makes good on his threat and tracks down Jenny Jones to Luther's apartment while he is out.

    Jones herself had just returned to the apartment with a wrapped gift for Luther, which she leaves on a table for his return as a token of her appreciation for his help.

    Here's the dialogue that follows after Kent spies the gift on the table...

    Kent: What's that?
    Jones: (While struggling to keep the gift from Kent) It's not yours.
    Kent: (Tears paper off while holding a knife to reveal the above signed print of a live Bowie shot from 1976) Ooooh...Oooh. David Bowie. Oh my god, that is so sweet.
    Jones: You do know you're ill? There's something wrong with you.
    Kent: Yeah apparently there is...

    Kent then goes on to describe a particularly grizzly and horrifically graphic childhood memory of his first forays in to animal dissection.

    This second reference to Luther's love of Bowie got me thinking that scriptwriter Neil Cross must be a bit of a fan. It didn't take me long to find this from the current issue of booknotes...which not only betrays his fondness for Bowie but also hints at his generally dark outlook that comes through so strongly in Luther...

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Neil Cross

    When I want to feel like I could go outside, pick up my car and throw it past the horizon, I crank up David Bowie?s post-apocalyptic, post-glam masterpiece Diamond Dogs. If I need to get my head into the kind of dank place where bad things dwell, it?s Swans? remorseless and frankly terrifying Great Annihilator.

    When I need something spectral that taps directly into the English folk subconscious, it?s Laura Marling?s ?Alas I Cannot Swim?. This morning I bought Zoe Keating?s One Cello x 16: Natoma. I?m listening to it now, and I?ll be listening to it a great deal more over the coming months.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The final episode of series two of Luther airs at 9:00pm on Tuesday 5th July on BBC One, while a DVD box set of both series one and two is due on the 11th.

    Just realised that the headline of this piece could be taken the wrong way....hope I didn't get your hopes up too high.