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Marcus Thurwell: Could Line of Duty’s latest bent copper be H?

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Marcus Thurwell: Could Line of Duty’s latest bent copper be H?

Detective Chief Inspector Marcus Thurwell, previously name-checked during season three, re-emerged when DS Steve Arnott and DC Chloe Bishop started to dig into the death of Lawrence Christopher, a case which murdered journalist Gail Vella had been probing before she was killed by the OCG. And this time, we had a face to put to the name – and that face belonged to James Nesbitt.

In a double bluff worthy of undercover queen Kate Fleming, Nesbitt spent most of the press tour for his recent cop drama Bloodlands (exec produced by Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio) joking that he felt offended about not being invited to guest star in Mercurio’s other series. Given that both productions filmed in Belfast last summer after shooting was delayed due to coronavirus, though, we should perhaps have been a little more suspicious of his claims.

But how does Thurwell fit into the OCG’s spider web of crime and corruption? Here’s what we know so far about the latest addition to AC-12’s rogues’ gallery…

Thurwell, right, is connected to the Waldron case

/ BBC

Cast your minds back to Line of Duty’s third series, when AC-12’s investigation into AFO Sergeant Danny Waldron (played by Daniel Mays, one of the series’ shortest-lived guest stars) uncovered the existence of a historic child abuse ring operating at Sands View boys’ home, involving politicians, VIPs, police officers and recently deceased OCG boss Tommy Hunter (who we’ve recently learned is most likely the father of DCI Jo Davidson).

Corrupt officers like former Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank helped hush up the abuse of young boys in care (including Waldron) – but Steve Arnott and Kate Fleming learned that one whistleblower, a social worker named Oliver Stephens-Lloyd, did raise concerns. His investigations, however, were ignored, as Central Police’s vice squad (led by Fairbank) accused him of selling cannabis to the inhabitants of Sands View. Stephens-Lloyd’s body was found soon after, but his death was ruled to be a suicide. The senior investigating officer on the case? DCI Marcus Thurwell.

The Lawrence Christopher case

In episode five, Steve Arnott revealed that before smooth solicitor Jimmy Lakewell was brutally offed by the OCG, Blackthorn Prison’s most unfeasibly tanned man revealed that murdered journalist Gail Vella had been looking into the death of aspiring architect Lawrence Christopher in 2003. Christopher, a young black man, died in police custody in 2003 after being attacked by a group of white youths.

Video footage showed custody officers mocking him with racist language, and the subsequent investigation was bungled, with forensic evidence left unsecured and the identity parade delayed. The SIO in charge also claimed that he didn’t know he could arrest suspects under reasonable suspicion – that SIO was, you guessed it, Marcus Thurwell. The Christopher case seems to be a fictionalised composite of the deaths of Stephen Lawrence, who was killed by a group of racist youths in 1993, and Christopher Alder, who died in police custody in 1998.

Steve does some digging

/ BBC

When AC-12’s Chloe Bishop mentions Thurwell in connection to Christopher, Steve’s encyclopedic memory of bent coppers past and present goes into overdrive. After putting Thurwell’s name into the police database, he remembers the link to the Waldron case – he’s also greeted with a shiny mugshot of James Nesbitt, with a tan to rival Lakewell’s. After laundering their money through Jackie Laverty’s hairdressers, have the OCG branched out into solariums?

The plot thickens when we learn that one of the racist youths involved in Christopher’s death was none other than Darren Hunter, son of OCG boss Tommy (and, surely, some kind of half-sibling to Jo Davidson). It seems that Tommy pulled strings to have Thurwell suppress the investigation. And if Thurwell’s general vibe wasn’t dodgy enough for you, how’s this: also on his team looking into the Christopher case were… drum roll please… Philip Osborne, now the Chief Constable who’s ruthlessly cutting back anti-corruption services, and a very young Ian Buckells, who is currently on remand in Blackthorn Prison for alleged links to organised crime. Thurwell, Osborne, Buckells – the antithesis of our AC-12 golden trio. Had Vella discovered the connection between the Christopher killing, the child abuse ring and police corruption? That podcast would’ve been explosive.

Thurwell is living it up in sunny Spain

/ BBC

When Arnott was looking into the abuse ring case back in series three, he was never able to track down Thurwell for a grilling – that’s because the former DCI retired to Spain, where he is currently living his best bent life on one of the Costas.

Could Thurwell be the fourth man ‘H’?

The signs are ‘definately’ there. Vella’s investigation into the link between the Christopher case and Sands View made her a target of the OCG – it makes sense, then, that one of the officers involved in either of those cover-ups is still orchestrating collusion between police and organised crime. Out of that unholy trinity of Thurwell, Osborne and Buckells, we can surely rule out the former: as Steve so succinctly put it earlier this series, the bumbling Buckells “couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery,” let alone oversee a sprawling network of corrupt officers over the course of several decades. That man is interested in one thing and one thing only, and that’s clocking off early to play golf.

Thurwell and Osborne, then, are our prime suspects, especially now that PCC Rohan Sindwhani has been unmasked as one of the good guys after all. A crucial piece of information from series five also points to Thurwell. When AC-12 were first introduced to the encrypted messaging platform used by the OCG (which we’ve fondly referred to as OCG MSN ever since) by tech specialist Amanda Yao, she revealed that ‘H’s IP address was located in… Spain. Is Thurwell a remote working pioneer, tapping out orders for his Midlands-based OCG while living the expat life and working on that tan? As Amanda notes in series five, the Spanish connection could be a Jed herring – ‘H’ could easily have used multiple VPNs to scramble their real location, maybe even to deliberately point to Thurwell – but the evidence is certainly compelling.

Another, more tenuous theory links Thurwell to our man Ted Hastings. In a reflective moment during episode five, the camera lingered on a photo in the gaffer’s office, showing a young Ted at his passing out parade. His name didn’t feature in the picture caption, but could Thurwell have trained with the RUC around the same time? Yes, it’s a little reductive to connect two characters purely because they’re played by Northern Irish actors, but the seriesdid just link two Scottish characters with a massive paternity reveal, so… 

When will Thurwell join the series in person?

It’s a TV truth universally acknowledged that you don’t throw a photo of James Nesbitt into your fake police database unless you’ve booked a big James Nesbitt cameo for your penultimate episodes. As the crucial link between the Christopher case, the child abuse ring and Vella’s murder, it’s surely only a matter of time before Thurwell gets a glass box grilling from AC-12 – even if he has to be dragged kicking and screaming onto a easyJet flight from Malaga to East Midlands Airport beforehand. To quote the gospel of Ted Hastings: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, give us strength.

Line of Duty continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC; catch up on BBC iPlayer

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Her Voice at BFI Southbank: Celebrating black women of all ages performers on movie

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Her Voice at BFI Southbank: Celebrating black women performers on film
C

inemas are again from May well 17 (hurrah!) and whilst London’s freshly reopened venues will give a full planet of filmic delights — no matter if it’s the prospect to revisit your favorite indie location, or last but not least see that Oscar-winner you have been conserving for the big display — there is a specially interesting period established for the reopening of BFI Southbank.

Her Voice, which operates as a result of May well and into June, will rejoice the most effective of black females performers on film, from documentaries shining a highlight on musical icons of decades long gone by, to stunning, in-depth biopics, and further than.

Here, we have picked out 5 have to-see highlights.

Billie (2019)

Centered on an incredible selection of earlier unheard interviews, collected by the late journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl in the Sixties and Seventies, this documentary explores each the dark and the mild in Billie Holiday’s lifetime and occupation. We hear from each the vocalist herself, as well as these who realized her, to inform the tale of a supremely proficient but embattled musical icon. The newly colourised footage of Holiday’s stay performances are mesmerising.

6pm, June 2 and 8.40pm, June 15

20 Toes from Stardom (2013)

An Oscar-successful deep dive into the earth of backing singers. They are the men and women — black ladies, in quite a few of the most prominent cases — that over the years have elevated some of the world’s most common data with their voices. Do they get the credit score they should have? Are they content with life in the background? What takes place if they want to be the stars themselves? It’s all explored in a movie that bursts with enthusiasm and strength.

8.45pm, June 4 and 6.20pm, June 10

Dreamgirls (2006)

It is almost certainly the ideal regarded film on our checklist, but it’s always really worth a rewatch. Loosely dependent on the story of the Supremes and the wider Motown phenomenon, the movie has a significant amount of money of stardust sprinkled through — Beyoncé, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx are among the the solid — with some really magical musical moments, none more so than from Jennifer Hudson, who manufactured her acting debut here.

5.50pm, May well 22 and 8.30pm, June 23

What is Appreciate Obtained To Do With It (1993)

Dependent on Tina Turner’s inform-all autobiography, this 1993 biopic offers a riveting and normally uncooked account of the singer’s job, and how it became entwined with her abusive associate, Ike. The 2021 documentary, Tina, presents a broader overview of it all (partly by advantage of becoming built a few decades afterwards) but this film is worthy of looking for out for the Oscar-nominated performances of Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne as Tina and Ike.

6pm, June 4 and 8.45pm, June 26

Siren of the Tropics (1927)

A landmark release from practically a century back, this silent film is electrified by the stunning talent of Josephine Baker, the very first black female to star in a attribute movie. For individuals unfamiliar with Baker’s extraordinary existence — aside from her career as a dancer, singer and actor, she was also a passionate civil rights activist, and an agent of the French Resistance all through Planet War Two — this would make a fine starting off position.

6.10pm, Could 19 and June 5, 12.20

Her Voice: Black Ladies From the Spotlight to the Display is at BFI Southbank from May possibly 17 – June 30. Tickets on sale now, bfi.org.uk/whatson

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