The Pact – Another Badly-Written, Bigoted Drama

As a writer, I believe strongly you must have a normal world job. You can’t just be a writer. People who are just writers often have a fake view of the normal, real world. They have a bizarre view of jobs and how people get on or don’t get on in the workplace. They often have no knowledge of how jobs actually function and run, thus they make glaring errors in their storyline that anyone who has worked in those jobs can spot a mile off.

I was out with acquaintances the other night for a meal, and they all said The Pact, a recent BBC drama that the Beeb has been advertising, was amazing, fantastic, the best thing in a long time. So I sat down with my Quorn and vegetable curry to see this outstanding work of art. Pretty soon into the first episode, I had turned into Rab C Nesbitt and was shouting at the screen.

So, we start out with Big Bad Horrible Man Boss saying nasty things to his women factory staff. Then, after his party that all the staff felt they had to go to, he assaults one of the young female workers in the car park. Of course he does because he’s a man, and male bosses always assault their female staff at a staff party. They don’t, but the BBC want you to believe that they do.

The other women intervene and get the female who has been assaulted to safety. And they don’t phone the police. The women then decide to kidnap their drunk and high boss, leave him in the woods tied up in the rain in the middle of the night, and pull his trousers down. So Big Bad Man can’t assault a woman – good – but the women can commit a group assault on a man, kidnap him, and even talk about exposing his genitals while they take photos of him to put on social media to humiliate him. Talk about double standards.

While I’m at the women, let’s have a look at the demographics; three middle aged straight women, and one gay in her 20s or 30s. They are all very close. One woman is godmother to another’s children. This doesn’t happen in real life. Firstly, the gay woman would be an OK acquaintance to the other women, but they wouldn’t be close with her because that’s just how relations between straight and gay women are – at arm’s length, and no work colleagues are so close that they kidnap a boss together, are godmother to another’s kids nor cover up a murder together. They just don’t. I’m working class, I’ve worked in fast food places, hotels, shops, care homes. I know these things. Women don’t kidnap their nasty Big Bad Man Boss. They just quit and get another job.

So we have a secondary female character who is gay, and then the main main character’s son is gay. That’s a lot of gay for the Middle Of The Welsh Nowhere. When only 2.2% the population of the UK is LGBT, that’s a lot of gay for A Small Village in The Middle Of The Welsh Nowhere. What Anna chatting with her son about his possible date with another boy shows is that she is A Good Person. I’d like to see a main lead character who is gay or bi. We’re always relegated to the Second Division, there to tick a box and show how wonderful and tolerant the heterosexual characters are, but not to be the main lead character. What if Anna had been gay or bi? Now that would have been daring.

When 15% the UK population is Black or Asian, the DI being Black, a DS being Black, a police techie being South Asian and another police techie being East Asian, the realms of believability are being pushed. I’ve been to Wales many times. In the cities where the Victorian ports were, there are many people of different racial backgrounds. But not in The Valleys.

Oh, and the only relationship that turns out to be good is the gay one; the gay female character gets together with a mixed race female worker who has just dumped her boyfriend. Of course, because bisexual people just bed hop, we flip a switch and don’t have any emotional connection to the relationship we have just ended. We flip a switch and we switch. It’s really easy, because we are shallow and don’t actually care about the person we live. We just move onto the next person and jump into bed with them. We don’t actually. We are (mostly) normal people who want a normal life, but the BBC writers, actors, producers and promoters seem to love viewers having all sorts of biphobic thoughts running around their heads. And in Pride Month, too.

Oh and the lesbian character has been in prison. Of course she has. Just another homophobic trope to add to this cesspit of a drama. We never find out what she did to be sent to prison, and when she shows her girlfriend scars on her stomach from prison, we are never told what these scars are, nor why they do not look like scars at all. They look like birth marks.

Oh yes, and the bisexual – after three days of dating her girlfriend – offers to cover for her in a murder investigation. Of course she does. That’s because us bis are not normal people. Hang on, yes we are. None of my friends nor myself are with a jailbird of any sex or gender, and we’ve never offered to cover for a partner of three days in a murder investigation. We’re all social care workers and probation officers and counsellors. We don’t get involved with prison types. It’s almost like we have a moral compass and healthy boundaries.

The police conducted witness interviews in the factory they all worked in. I take it the police station was suddenly inundated with hardened criminals who filled every interview room and office space.

The autopsy showed the victim died of asphyxiation. How? Was there a ligature wound? Was there bruising to the mouth and nose? Was there any hand prints on the throat? No. Just asphyxiation. When it is revealed how the victim was murdered, it’s pretty clear there would have been bruising to the nose and mouth, and probably fibres of the murder weapon imbedded in his upper epidermis. But the police autopsy has completely missed all this.

The police, after two weeks of investigating, have no information on the victim. his social life, his habits, nothing. The first thing a police murder investigation does is get a picture of the life of the victim. But apparently the Middle Of The Welsh Nowhere Police don’t run investigations like the police in the rest of the UK. Anna’s husband – who happens to be a DS – can’t spot the fact that the CCTV camera in the games arcade is a fake. The police have Nance’s car on CCTV near the murder spot, but not the murderer, who was following Nance’s car. Don’t get murdered in The Middle Of The Welsh Nowhere. Don’t even break a nail. The police are even more incompetent than the force in the area I moved away from last year, and that’s saying something.

More man hating in the last episode. Anyone who has heard Douglas Murray take apart Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda will have flash backs. So, at the end of the laugh out loud video from Minaj that is supposed to be sexy and empowering for women, she does a lapdance for a guy, and is all over him, but when he goes to touch her she slaps his hand away. Nance does the same with the vicar, albeit without the lapdance and thigh highs. Nance has been sharing “looks” with the male vicar throughout the drama, and in the last episode, she invites him to show his feelings for her. He goes to touch her face and she slaps his hand away and chastises him.

And then we come to the murderer. Teenagers under the age of consent don’t murder people. They just don’t. OK, a small percentage do, but they tend to come from abusive homes, are desensitised to violence and have mental health issues as a result. A teenager has to have something really wrong with them to murder someone. Normal, nice girls from nice middle class families don’t murder people. Not even if the person they murder is a Big Bad Horrible Man who has said nasty things to them. I wish someone had told the BBC writers this.

Also, nice middle class families don’t cover up a murder. They don’t know how to. Oh yes, the father is a recently promoted DS who gave up his unspecified former career to become a police officer, but he’s not even able to spot when a CCTV camera is a fake. He’s not going to be able to cover up a murder that one of his children has committed.

Nance’s talk with the vicar was of her decision to free herself from the shackles of putting others first, so she walks into the police station and confesses to a murder she did not commit and sits in her prison cell, smiling with her light pink lipstick. Nance, after all the soul searching she has done in all the episodes, has found her true vocation; doing twenty years in prison for a crime she did not commit. She is happy at last.

That’s it. That’s the six episodes of man hating, biphobia, lesbophobia and incompetent writing and some shoddy acting at times. Holes all over the storyline, police procedure out the window, reality bended into a social justice warrior’s dream and it just me bored in the last two episodes. Crikey, they really dragged out the last episode. They could have just ended the drama with five episodes, seeing as the murderer was uncovered in the fifth. The last two episodes were an anti climax, with me flicking the timer on and off, wishing it would all end soon.

This drama alone shows the viewer why writers should have normal jobs alongside their writing work. Who says “It’s your funeral”?!

It reminds me of Collateral, another BBC drama that was out last year. It was totally woke, with open man hating lines, police procedure went out the window, holes all over the storyline, and it was just shoddy. One glaring example was when the interpreter for the police interviews started advising the interviewee what to say, and then was gossiping with the police about the suspect/witness they had just interviewed. It’s a sackable offence for the interpreter. I’ve looked into interpreting. I know these things. There could even be jail time involved. But I guess the BBC writers didn’t know this.

Several years ago, a writer friend (who wrote for the BBC) asked me to look at a friend’s script. It was set in a mental health ward. I could tell the writer knew nothing at all about mental health wards, from the fact they wrote that the nurse was wearing a nurse’s uniform – and in mental health, nurses wear casual-smart clothes, to how the medication was administered, which were key points in the writer’s script and storyline. They had no facts at all, therefore could not write realistically about a patient’s experience on a mental health ward.

For writers to write successfully, they need to have actual first hand knowledge of what it is they are writing about. If they are writing a police drama, they should volunteer with the police or even work for or with the police for a period of time. If they are writing about mental health wards, they should have experience of work on a mental health ward, if they are writing about farming they should have experience working on a farm. How could someone know what to write unless they have first hand experience of settings.

Yes, I write BAME, female and LGBT characters, but their racial background or sexual orientation or genitals are not the story, there is no bigotry and the story depends on the story, not immutable characteristics. My characters are real, they are based on people I know, they have depth, they have friends, hobbies, interests. I don’t stereotype and I don’t man bash.

I am working on an ebook, a novel that I hope to have out in July or August. It begins with a murder in a care home. I’ve worked in many care homes and in care settings. I am writing real experiences into my work. The real experiences I have had in care work and in care homes contribute massively to the story and provide some of the twists in the murder investigation. I also wanted readers to know about what goes on in care homes, the abuse the staff face daily, and the toll it takes on the staff’s mental and physical health. I write about what I know. I wish the BBC’s writers knew stuff.

About catherinehume

Catherine Hume: Writer, social care worker and a liver of a life less ordinary.
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