Responsible Child – The DVDfever Review – BBC drama

Responsible Child Responsible Child is based on a true story about a 12-year-old boy who’s arrested on a charge of murder.

At the start of the drama, young Rafael – best known as Ray (Billy Barratt) – is being held in a prison cell, awaiting legal representation, which he’ll get from lawyer Pete (Owen McDonnell) and barrister Kerry (Michelle Fairley), but he must be innocent, surely, with his ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ face?

Well, his clothes are stained in blood, and he was brought in with his brother, Nathan (James Tarpey), and after a brief introduction, we go back to his mother’s house where the animosity is obvious between them and her abusive partner, Scott (Shaun Dingwall), as a fight breaks out, an axe is waved about and the drunk is carted off with the police for the night.

From there on, the drama mixes the present with that recent period which led to the murder in question: Ray meets with counsellor Dr Johann Keaton (Stephen Campbell Moore); Shaun is seen telling Ray that there’s no way he’s ever leaving the household again; the grim details of the murder are read out in court; the feeling of being thrown to the wolves when giving evidence in court; and there’s the cold-heartedness of his mother.

Billy Barratt is superb as the young Ray, but as the courtroom setting began to take place, it did rather feel like it was losing some power. I think that’s because we don’t actually get to see them carry out the murder until the very end of the drama. I know they couldn’t show it in detail, but while they did, rightly, find something inbetween, it all came rather too little too late and too brief. That should’ve been brought up much earlier.

Responsible Child is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but it is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.

Responsible Child – Trailer – BBC Two

Score: 7/10

Director: Nick Holt
Producer: Elinor Day
Writer: Sean Buckley
Music: Adrian Johnston

Ray: Billy Barratt
Kerry: Michelle Fairley
Pete: Owen McDonnell
William Ramsden: Tom Burke
Dr Johann Keaton: Stephen Campbell Moore
Nathan: James Tarpey
Scott: Shaun Dingwall
Veronica: Debbie Honeywood
Amber Lyndon: Natasha Joseph
Jamie: Tobi Bamtefa
Gary: Matthew Aubrey
Grace: Angela Wynter
Judge Walden: Stephen Boxer
Sergeant Lucas: Tina Harris
Kevin (Appropriate Adult): Neal Barry
Pathologist: Nicholas Khan
Sam Delaney: Zita Sattar
Mike: Mark Straker
Tim: Jay Villiers
Fran: Heather Bleasdale
Jury Forewoman: Tor Clark
Clerk: Hasan Dixon
Liam: Buddy Skelton
Serena: Kirsten Wright
Christie: Zachary Barnfield