Longford, Hindley and Brady

THERE’S a scene in the new Channel 4 drama about Lord Longford where he’s visiting Moors murderer Ian Brady.
The deranged and hostile child killer explains that he’s on hunger strike in protest at what he says are filthy prison conditions.
“Why don’t you allow me to make representations to the Home Secretary on your behalf?” asks the campaigning Labour peer.
Brady replies: “I’m not completely insane.”

Channel 4’s HQ in London was the venue for a preview screening of Longford, which will be broadcast on Thursday October 26.
You can read today’s first MEN TV feature on the drama here.
It includes a dramatic re-creation of the shocking tape which recorded the torture and death of one of the child victims.
Aside from the 1966 trial at Chester Assizes, the real tape of Lesley Ann Downey, 10, crying for her mother and begging for mercy has never been heard in public.
Longford features a 30 second extract, with Oscar nominee Samantha Morton as Myra Hindley and Andy Serkis as Ian Brady.

The voices of both actors are heard on the muffled tape, with Hindley telling the young girl to be quiet. But it is faded out before any child’s voice can be heard.
Director Tom Hooper told me there was “massive debate” about whether or not to include the scene.
It features actor Jim Broadbent, as Longford, sitting in stunned silence in his study as he hears the tape for the first time.
Tom said it was decided to fade the tape as quickly as possible, with no question of representing Lesley Ann’s voice.
“To replay what was on the tape at any length, I think would be upsetting for the families and probably too upsetting for the viewers.”
Lesley’s step-father Alan West attended a private screening of the 90-minute drama in Manchester earlier this week, along with members of the family of another victim – John Kilbride, 12.
The press screening in London was held the morning after. It was followed by a question and answer session with several people involved in the production, including Jim and Samantha, who plays Hindley up until her late fifties.

Although made for Channel 4, Longford is actually an ITV Granada film – the same company behind The Moors Murders: See No Evil, screened on ITV1 earlier this year.
Both are remarkable pieces of television. Longford concentrates on the peer’s relationship with Hindley and his doomed campaign to secure her release.
It also illuminates the conviction of a man who – because of his support for Hindley – became a cartoon figure of hate and ridicule in the tabloid press.
Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow was a long time friend of Lord Longford and had lunch with him almost every month for 30 years.
“I think the film caught the immense complexity of who he was,” said Jon. “An incredibly difficult man to encapsulate. He was a most beguiling, captivating, extraordinary man, who had spanned the 20th century and been in on extraordinarily great moments of history.
“It’s worth pointing out – Frank wrote a book called Humility, but only after he’d already written five volumes of autobiography.”
Return To The Moors
See No Evil: The Moors Murders
Maxine Peake: Myra And Me


Filed under News

9 responses to “Longford, Hindley and Brady

  1. Piipa Tremlett

    I was deeply moved by the portrayal of Lord Longford on last night’s drama. I too had believed him to be a bit of a figure of fun, but I now believe the reality is that he was a deeply caring and highly motivated prison reformer. I cannot and do not wish to comment about either of the moors murderers, but felt that this portral by Jim Broadbent should not go unrecongised. He did justice to a man who was misunderstood and vilified for his deeply held humanitarian beliefs. Well done chanel four and especially Jim Broadbent.

  2. BJW

    A brilliant performance by Jim Broadbent of Lord Longford, even the voice was spot on, i happen to have spoken to the late frank Pakenham several times just prior to his death. Excerlent piece of television drama / documentary,B.J.W.

  3. claire

    does anyone know what the budget was for longford ?

  4. Ian Wylie

    Claire – I’ve not seen a figure quoted. You may have a better idea than me, but these BBC (not C4) tariff prices for drama may give a general idea:

  5. Heather Prouse

    Before watching the drama starring Jim Broadbent I really hated Lord Longford because of his support of Myra Hindley. I now realise how wrongly I judged him & I would like to say how moved I was & that if it were possible I would like to say to Lord Longford how sorry I am for my judgemental attitude & how much I now admire his work.It is so easy to jump to the wrong conclusions without knowing all of the facts. Jim Broadbent was superb in the role.
    However no-one should ever for get the families who were hurt and who will never recover after being touched by such evil.

  6. Derek

    I have only just viewed as I had recorded.
    Truly fantastic performances and a gripping if uncomfortable watch.
    A true man of conviction and moral courage even if we think it was misguided.
    A brilliantly menacing Ian Brady by Andy Serkis but Broadbent and Morton together were wonderful.
    Ms Duncan magic as always.
    More great telly please!!

  7. Merick Howell

    I watched ‘Longford’ when it was repeated last month. I had attempted, unsuccessfully, to purchase it on DVD as I missed the original broadcast. What a fantastic and gripping performance. It poses a real question in that, can or should those that commit such terrible crimes be released?

  8. Joanne Carnell

    I have always said that Lord Longford was the most idiotic man in politics i wonder how he would of felt if the moors murderers had murdered one or more of his family members the stupid old idiot he should of been sent to prison for trying to release Myra Hindley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Peter

    I worked for a company for several years,that was fortunate enough to have Frank Longford as its chairman.
    I have many happy memories of him.
    An eccentric yes! but a kind and loyal
    friend with a wicked sense of humour.
    He accompanied me on many sales trips, and was an inspiration. with his cheerful and friendly attitude.I remember one occasion when I took
    him for lunch in a Bradford chippy, he went back to the office and told all and sundry about the gourmet meal he had had. The company accountant (a parsimonious sod) was having kittens waiting for my expenses to arrive on his desk. He needed treatment when they arrived a bill for
    8 shillings and 3 pence 41p in today’s
    money!!!!!!!!!. Frank reminded every time that we met after that what great fish and chips they were ,and how they reminded him of his student days.

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