Published on December 9th, 2014 | by Bean


“Remember Me” Finale Review – Michael Palin’s BBC Ghost Story

Share with your fellow Consumers!

Ghost stories with happy endings are few and far between, yet Gwyneth Hughes’ three-part tale of possessive love, murder and loss “Remember Me” came to a close last night with no last-minute victims and an overall sense of peaceful balance. While short on overt scares this time around, the creative team capitalise on the dynamics between their characters, and the emotions they’ve spent time and effort investing Tom, Rob and Hannah with, relying upon revelations of the central mystery to do the gripping, rather than the things that go bump in the night.

While this choice diverges from the M.R.Jamesian influence it began with (where brutality and merciless doom is the order of the day), Hughes has made the right decision here. This forbearance is to her credit, as the propensity of many modern supernatural chillers to cram a surfeit of “boo!” beats into their endings reveals their narrative insecurities.“It’s not a love story!” shouts Palin’s Tom Parfitt of Scarborough Fair, but this yarn is, even more than a supernatural horror. A seasick love story. Enough elements remain disturbing to retain it’s right to the darker genre, particularly as we discover much about Tom’s tragic and painful past, but where a movie might up the ante, or increase the body count for it’s denouement, “Remember Me” plays a subtler game.

The pivotal attachment between Tom and Isha is a powerful bond over a century old; the maternalistic nature of it does nothing to lessen the impact, rather, it increases it’s unsettling quality. As we discover the relationship is reciprocal – a co-dependent need – the queasiness spirals, reaching a morbid nadir when we dredge up how Tom’s wife really died.


Eileen Davies plays the care home resident Nancy who relays this secret to Hannah with a sorrowful furtiveness that lets the burdened child she once was shine through miserably. The ever-excellent Sheila Hancock also joins the brilliant cast in the finale, as sister of Tom’s doomed bride and keeper of another piece of the puzzle. Characters like these ladies, laden with exposition and allotted a brief time to convey the profundity of their revelations, abound in supernatural tales. The calibre here is very high, so each makes their own mark on the story and indelible impressions on Hannah. Hughes’ excellent script delights in having Hancock’s character recount the properties of the herbs from Scarborough Fair, all of which play their part in the tale; “Sage is for strength, Rosemary for faithfulness, and Thyme is for courage.”


If “Remember Me” struggles with anything, it is the eternal conundrum of the genre; how to keep your spook scary. As Isha becomes a more visible figure in the narrative, so her ability to scare wanes. Like all monsters, allowing the imagination to fill in the blanks is far more frightening than anything on screen. Proving this is the most effective scene in the finale, as Sean’s swing is impossibly suspended, stretched taut by unseen hands. This moment works on our imagination in multiple ways; the thing you cannot see, the thing stood behind you, the physically impossible before your eyes, the inversion of a playful scenario to a sinister one. While the tension dissipates once Isha appears, the eldritch shadow she casts endures when she vanishes. “Remember Me” decides upon a re-balance of Isha’s influence to meet it’s needs; from menacing to merciless.8801496-large

Cinematographer Tony Miller paints a bleakly beautiful picture once again; the deep contrast of the slow-motion tide rolls remorselessly over the cloaked carcass it has claimed, and the looming storm clouds above the hill where Isha cradles the injured Tom are suitably foreboding. Rooms are lit sparsely allowing the shadows to take hold. This and a nicely page-turning feel to the story create the best platform possible, but it is the strength of performances from all three leads which makes “Remember Me” truly compelling. Most ghost stories must by proxy fall into the tension/release see-saw to achieve their ends, but they frequently scrimp on the depth of their characters in the rush to scare us. Smart authors, of any genre, persuade the audience to care about the protagonists, else, well, what’s the point?


Mark Addy’s Rob is fraught by anxiety and self-doubt, and must rise above his own self-perceived limitations to protect the innocents, Hannah and her brother Sean – his substitute family. Addy brings real gravity to the role, marking himself out yet again as one of the UK’s most versatile and surprising actors. He wears Rob’s continued grief like a uniform; something that defines him. Given how much of the episode Jodie Comer spends in tears, by rights I should normally have had little patience for Hannah. However, Comer casts a spell over proceedings, imbuing this kind girl with real fortitude and spirit, whilst retaining the necessary naivety of the horror heroine archetype.

Vulnerability and a certain innocence is what all three characters have in common; even Tom, who murdered the wife he never evolved enough to warrant, operates in a guileless way, free from shame even whilst acting selfishly. As he explains, “I’ve been 10 years old all my life.”. What a concept. It is conceivable that to be both constrained and coddled by the love of a mother figure for any length of time, let alone one hundred years, would bear dubious results.


Michael Palin’s performance is simultaneously revelatory and everything I anticipated; comics always make the best dramatic actors. Perhaps it is something to do with their sense of timing… Whatever it is, Palin makes you forget his past roles and his loveable real-life persona. The disparity between the agony he shows Rob under interrogation, and the ambivalence that manifests when confronted by Hannah reveals a twisted personality, stunted and irresponsible. His Tom Parfitt is a damaged man-child, in a perpetually warped embrace with his terrible guardian; their inevitable end the only way to lay the ghost of their bond to rest.

Review by Nina Clark

Follow Nina


Director at Nina Clark Music / The Musical Walkabout at Nina Clark Music
Bean is the family nickname of Nina Clark, singer, songwriter and professional musician. Nina's many nerdly passions, aside from music, include Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and all things Whedon. (re. GoT, she has NOT read the books, so please be cool - no spoilers!)
Follow Nina
Share with your fellow Consumers!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back to Top ↑
  • Videos We Keep Consuming

  • Find Us On Pinterest

  • Consumers On Facebook

Read previous post:
Anime Picture
Hidden Gems – Netflix, The New Home For Anime

  Afternoon, Anime fans and welcome back to Anime Mondays.  Just because we’ve been away for some time, it doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting on our laurels.  We’ve found a new, untapped source of Anime awesomeness.  Where is this wealth of wickedly delightful hidden gems, I hear you ask?  One word; Netflix.  That’s right, the behemoth pay and view service has been adding Anime shows like there’s no tomorrow.  I subscribed to Netflix just over a year ago and all year there’s been one, maybe two shows listed under the Anime section.  Now they have twenty six.  Some are old, but most are from only a couple of years, or even this year.   So, for those of you that have Netflix and don’t fancy the endless Christmas films and TV, I’ve picked out, what I believe to be, the five best hidden Anime gems on Netflix...   Yu-Gi-Oh In my naiver days, YuGiOh was much overlooked by myself and my peergroup; we were on the cusp of greatness and anything that wasn’t Pokémon just wasn’t Anime. But as I grew, so did my love of Japanese trading card games and now YuGiOh is a staple of my regular Anime watching, one that I’ll go back to time and time again.  Despite its harsh critics claiming that it had absolutely no appeal in the Western market and that it was a failed attempt to revive the oversaturated pocket monster market, I find YuGiOh to be both enjoyable and engaging.  In fact, it’s very much like a previous show that I reviewed here, Cardfight Vanguard, in the sense that it’s primary function is to sell trading cards.  But that doesn’t make it unenjoyable. If you’ve never seen it, don’t be put of by the fact that it’s aimed at children.  Give it a go.   Sword Art Online If you pick up any show off of this list please let it be this one.  It is a true gem that I only discovered through Netflix and I’m so glad that I did.  In the year 2022, the virtual reality game Sword Art Online is released. Using a Nerve Gear, players can control their characters using their own minds, and experience the world of Aincrad as if it were real. Unfortunately, it becomes all too real when the creator of the game locks everyone out of the real world by hijacking all the Nerve Gear devices so that if you die in the game, you will die in real life. Only by clearing the 100th floor and defeating the final boss can the players win their freedom.  It is essentially about the psychological and sociological implications of massively multiplayer online gaming, a subject that is very relevant in today’s gaming world.  If it’s not the best, then it’s certainly one of the most intelligent Animes from the last couple of years.  The show has its haters due to the polarising effect the story has if you couple it with the Manga novels, but it also has a lot of love from the Anime community.  The characters are likeable and the episodes are action packed, unlike a similar Anime in this genre, .hack//SIGN, which was criticised for being too slow and over talkative.  The animation style is also some of the best I’ve seen for a while; some of the wide shots look absolutely stunning.  So, what I suggest you do is go and watch it right now. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood Anyone with an ounce of knowledge about Anime will have heard of Full Metal Alchemist; it’s a series that went on to spawn a movie and several videogames.  Anime fans love it.  Well, when that series ended, the manga novels continued, leaving a huge gap in the story to be filled.  That’s where Brotherhood steps in.  After both suffer physical damage, brothers Edward and Alphonse, battle nefarious forces to try to reclaim their bodies.  It’s that simple and yet, it’s a plot that is incredibly engrossing and will leave you wanting more at the end.  Very few sequels in this world get things right, but Brotherhood has everything spot on from its depths of plot to its well rounded characters; not one single character is there just for the sake of it.  Everyone gets to shine in this series.  Just like its predecessor, I can see this series going down as a classic, one fans will watch over and over again.  Do not miss it. The Irregular at Magic High School This little Anime gem was a real surprise to find on Netflix, as it only started this year.  It’s not necessarily one of my favourite Animes, but because it’s all brand-new, I thought I would add it to the list for those that have never heard of it.  In a world where magic has become commonplace, siblings Tatsuya and Miyuki enroll at Magic High School, where Miyuki's honors status comes between her and her underachieving older brother, even though both of them are incredibly talented at welding magic.  In essence, this show is Harry Potter on steroids.  It’s full of the usual teenage dramas, but with magic making them ever so slightly more complex and complicated.  Overall, I enjoyed the visual style of this one and the characters weren’t overly annoying or stock characters.  The plot could do with some work, as the pacing often feels too slow and slightly offkilter.  Other than that, it’s a pretty good series.  I don’t think it will ever go down as a classic, but it’s worth watching while its on Netflix. Pokémon - Indigo League  No Anime list would be complete without at least one mention of Pokémon and they don’t come much better than the original series run.  Those of you that have seen my previous article on Pokémon will know how much I love it; this series isn’t only where my love of Pokémon began, but also where my love of Anime started (Samurai Pizza Cats doesn’t count!).  Pokémon is everything you would expect from this type of show and more.  I won’t go on about it too much because you can go and read my previous review, but I will say that if you’ve never seen it, then quite frankly, you’ve been living in a cave! (NB - Netflix also has the Black and White series, which in my opinion is the closest to the original with regards to its quality.) Well, those are what I consider to be the five best Anime series currently available on the UK version of Netflix.  You might disagree and if you do, put your thoughts in the comments below.  These aren’t the only options available on Netflix.  There are plenty more to choose from and for our cousins across the pond, the US version of Netflix has even more to offer, one of them being Attack on Titan, which is probably the biggest Anime since Full Metal Alchemist, or even Death Note, with regards to its cult following.   I’ll be back here next month at the start of a brand-new year with an article looking ahead to what is coming in 2015 in the bright, beautiful world of Anime....