NB. Obviously, this review has spoilers. If you haven't seen it and are planning to watch it then taken that into account when you decide whether or not to read this.
I was quite eager to watch Accused on BBC1 last night, for two reasons - it had Sean Bean playing a transvestite and it was written by the incomparable Jimmy McGovern. Unfortunately, I ended being really quite disappointed and annoyed.
My main problem was that the Sean Bean's character Simon/Tracy was a desperately stereotyped tranny - lonely, self-hating, shag-happy, slutty and gay (I am not saying that there aren't transvestites who exhibit some or all of these characteristics but, if you were to base your impression of cross-dressers from their media representation, that's pretty much all you'd see.)
As ever, (see: pretty much everything that included a cross-dressing character from Rocky Horror to Billy Elliott) the desire to wear women's clothing is synonymous with being homosexual - being a straight transvestite is referred to once, when Tracy, discussing her relationships with the unknowing wife of her lover, replies to the question of whether she sleeps with men or women by sharply and dismissively stating that she is 'not a dyke'.
I have to say, I pretty much knew this about the character from seeing the trailers for it, but I thought that Sean Bean and Jimmy McGovern would do something different and interesting with it. Admittedly, Sean Bean did a brilliant job with what he was given - about as for from the character of Boromir as you could possibly get - but what he got was really underwhelming and sloppy.
The scene in the courtroom where Simon, accused of murder, comes to the stand dressed as Tracy was really pretty desperate. The whole court appears to be shocked by her sudden appearance - when they are in the middle of a trial which revolves around this particular man dressing as a woman.
Oh, and to end it all, we see Tracy going out on the prowl again, obviously having utterly failed to learn anything from her ordeal.
I don't really have a conclusion, except to reiterate that this episode of Accused was as far from the standard I have come to expect of the creator of the utterly sublime Fitz and Pan-Handle of Cracker fame, amongst others - a man who has managed to get the subtleties and agonies of men driven to extremes (for example, the utterly amazing episode of Cracker where Christopher Eccleston plays a survivor of the Hillsborough disaster, driven to commit appalling crimes by his memories). It was sloppy, thoughtless and frankly, pretty dull.
(Crossposted from my own LJ)