Production company: Betty
Broadcaster: Channel 4
Length: 60 mins
Genre: Drama
TX: 2007

Dir: Paul Wilmshurst
Starring: Lucy Cohu and Derek Riddell
Awards: RTS Winner


A heartbreaking story based on a real life case of child abuse within a family. Liz, a suburban housewife, discovers that her husband has been abusing their eldest daughter and ends up reporting him to the police.

Score notes:

As this was such a powerful film it was important to not let the music get in the way too much, yet still keep the feelings of discomfort and humanity that runs throughout. As a score I decided to keep it very underplayed.

I used a lot of electronic treatments on sounds like pianos, voices and drums to give them an uncomfortable emotion, and would use the treatments themselves as part of the score. For instance there's a scene where the husband Stephen is taken round the clinic he is being made to go to in order to rehabilitate himself. At first it seems fine but as the scene progresses it dawns on him more and more what kind of place he's in, what kind of people he's with, kind of person he's become. First I scored and recorded music for the scene, then I went back and tampered with this recording very very slowly, changing the final sample rate of the track so it starts to disintegrate and fall apart. I had to do about 8 different versions at different sample rates and then rechop them together, fading across very gradually. This was very boring and time consuming. The end result is very subtle - you don't really notice what's happening but something is changing in the music - it's getting stranger and stranger and darker and darker until it's almost just white noise. I think, as far as I know, this is possibly one of the first times this idea has been used as a method of scoring and we had to fill out a number of forms outlining what I was trying to achieve so it could pass the Channel 4 tech review.

I used this idea on a couple of other cues - pulling apart piano pieces and the likes to give them a sense of disjointedness - as well as a number of other concepts, such as slowed down vocal recordings I had made. This was then balanced with the addition of some more traditional scoring elements (notes, melodies that sort of thing - ho ho) to give the music an element of humanity and fraility.