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Feature: Cape Wrath

Cape Wrath cast The Works goes on set to track down the family on the run in Channel 4’s dark new drama

Modern suburbia has often found itself the focus of films and TV dramas. It’s a chance to explore the tension that exists between the gleaming façade and troubled reality and this endless fascination seems to lie with how the everyday of suburban life can often disguise the extraordinary. And that’s the very premise of Cape Wrath, Channel 4’s thrilling new seven-part drama, which follows the story of the Brogan family, who move to the picturesque community of Meadowlands to start their lives over. But here, the idea that behind every closed door is concealed all manner of dark secrets is taken to the extreme. For Meadowlands is no ordinary neighbourhood, but in fact a witness protection programme that safehouses whole families with new identities. Keen to find out more, The Works went incognito to visit Cape Wrath’s top secret set…

“I think everybody toys with the idea of reinvention of themselves,” offers David Morrissey, who plays troubled family man Danny Brogan. “Particularly when they move somewhere, there’s always the chance to tell people a different side to you. But these people are being licensed to do that, they’re actually encouraged to do that. So it’s tapping into a human psyche that I think is very recognizable for everyone.”

The Brogan family, The Works is told, have left their life in London after their house has been set on fire and their kids have been threatened. With no real answers offered as to why the family is on the run, all that is hinted at is that Danny found himself on the wrong side of a group shady gangsters. Placed in protective custody and given new identities, the family must adjust to a life where nothing is as it seems.

“All they want to do is merge as quickly as possible,” explains actress Lucy Cohu, who plays Danny’s wife, Evelyn. “But everyone there has had to adapt, so in a way it’s not there to comment on. That’s why people come to Meadowlands, and they have to get their head around this crazy structure for life to go on.

“Everyone’s got secrets, and it’s trying to put a brave face on it, but it’s all bubbling away underneath,” continues Cohu. “There’s an absolute paranoia that’s rife there. They could be living next to rapists or murderers. You have no idea why people are placed in this world.”

Many viewers might wonder why the Brogans don’t opt to leave Meadowlands if they feel so anxious in this alien surrounding, but Morrissey insists it’s not as easy as that.

“A mixture of fear and paranoia keeps them here, and the chance to start again,” explains the actor. “They start pushing those boundaries as people, seeing how far they can go, what they can get away with, what are the laws of this land. It is like being in a foreign country. One of the characters says at the end of episode one, ‘The past isn’t a foreign country, it’s another planet’, and the sense is that that’s what they’re on. They’re not in their comfort zone any more. Nobody is who they say they are, including themselves, and they’re having to live with that.”

by Natalie Braine

Read the full set report in
The Works #A17

Photo © Channel 4
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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The Works #A17, see below for ordering options
The Works #A17
July/August 2007
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