Did you watch Channel 4’s truly excellent drama The Promise? It was a four part drama screened at the end of Febraury.
(I know, I know, I'm rubbish!! It's taken me until now to discuss it!)
I don’t know who to applaud first – or loudest. Should it be writer/director Peter Tomkinsky forbeing brave enough to tackle what surely must be one of the longest running political hot potatoes in modern history (not to mention one of the most controversial)?
Should he be applauded forcasting so brilliantly? Or should it be the cast themselves, many of whom were local actors, so convincing in their roles, it was difficult not to believe they weren’t merely playing themselves?
In particular, the ex-IDF soldier Paul, who could no longer ignore or accept the treatment of Palestinian Arabs, and Omar, a Hamas supporter with a dim view of Israel, all of which created genuine tension?
My viewing partner (wifey) and I, however, felt that Len (brilliantly played by Christian Cooke) deserved a special mention. His mix of emotions came across beautifully; be it the tough but fair sergeant,the gentleman falling in love with the young Clara, or the human being who became ever more sympathetic to the Palestinian’s plight in general, but particularly to Abu-Hassan, his servant, and his family.
Although the part played by Erin’s grandfather wasn’t exactly scene stealing, his single tear at the end of the final part spoke volumes, the relief of decades of self-inflicted pain, also clearly visible in his subtle hand squeeze. We had far more tears on our cheeks than he did by this point.
I hope that people who were not previously interested or knowledgeable about this important part of world history were as glued to their screens as we were. The detailed story of the suffering which took place over 60 years ago in Palestine will hopefully have answered lots of questions for many viewers, showing the ongoing sadness and humiliation experienced by thousands of families, all of whom also live with an old, metal key wrapped up in a cloth, kept in pride of place in their homes, serving as a permanent reminder, as well as an increasingly unlikely, beacon of hope.