The inspiration for BBC series Better comes from an unusual place

Better: Leila Farzad stars in BBC trailer

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Better continues airing on BBC One on Mondays at 9pm and is also available to binge as a boxset on the BBC iPlayer. The series is led by Andrew Buchan as gangster Col McHugh and Leila Farzad as bent police officer Lou Slack, who entered into a Faustian pact with the mobster whereby she lets his crimes slide in exchange for tip-offs to push her up the career ladder. The show was created by Channel 4’s Humans writers Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent, who have opened up about their inspiration for the story.

Is Better BBC series based on a true story?

Creative duo Brackley and Vincent said a couple of years ago they were looking for a gangster story but decided they wanted to look “a bit deeper” at “why do bad people do what they do”.

Vincent said: “And so, we eventually developed the idea to incorporate a much more juicy and complex character on the side of the police who is a corrupt police detective, and how that person sees themself as ostensibly a good person while still doing bad things and then comes to realise that they’re actually, possibly a bad person, and how do they go about correcting that?”

He went on to say redemption was a big theme in Better and was like a “lightning strike moment”.

Vincent said: “There’s somebody bad and then they make the decision to be good and lightning strikes, and then from that point on, they’re good.

“And Jon and I, in talking about that, we said, well, wouldn’t redemption for somebody truly bad be not a single moment and an about turn in how they see the world, but a long, painful struggle against their own rising conscience and how they tried to bargain and wrestle with their conscience.

“Once we had this notion of redemption being a long, hard road rather than a single moment, that’s when the story really started to flow.”

So, Better is not based on a true story but more of a exploration into the grey shades of good and bad and which side of the line people fall on.

Compared to other crime dramas, Better steers away from the police procedural elements with the focus on the morality of its characters.

Brackley said: “It is about a police officer and a gangster, but it’s not a good guy, bad guy story. It’s not cops and robbers.

“It’s a very much a character based drama where we see these people in a 360-degree view of their entire lives.”

The show is set in Leeds and West Yorkshire and delves into loyalty and family with all of the characters having their own versions of right and wrong.

Better was shot in and around the city with the crew from Manchester and Leeds, which added to the filming process.

Brackley said the writing process was a “lengthy one” with the two writers starting off with lots of discussions and coming up with concepts and “little nuggets”.

Once Vincent and Brackley got enough together, the story would start to “congeal” and come together.

However, the big thing for them was to start with the characters and build the story from there.

They then went through a long outlining process as they started to flesh out the characters and the story.

Brackley continued: “Going through the whole series, developing the stories, and then we eventually get to writing those scripts.

“As we’re writing the scripts, they inevitably develop and change quite a lot as we’re writing.”

On the casting of Farzad, Vincent they’d decided on the I Hate Suzie actress early on and felt she would bring something “really fresh and unexpected” to the part.

While Broadchurch and Honourable Woman star Buchan was praised by Vincent as an “incredibly intelligent” actor and his performance went down to a “microscopic level”.

Better airs on BBC One on Mondays at 9pm and is streaming as a boxset on the BBC iPlayer

Source: Read Full Article