Life lessons I have learned from TV’s Marcella

PUBLISHED: 09:46 14 April 2018

Anna Friel as tortured detective Marcella Backland

Anna Friel as tortured detective Marcella Backland


Things I have learned from watching Marcella - never ignore a blinking light on your laptop, never use the excuse that you’re dead to get out of having a job and spare a thought for serial killers who have saddled themselves with a really complicated and time-consuming modus operandi.

Anna Friel as tortured detective Marcella BacklanAnna Friel as tortured detective Marcella Backlan

As we all reel away from the series finale of Marcella (albeit with lots of unanswered questions ) I have finally had time to think about the life lessons I have learned from no-one’s favourite Detective Sergeant.

Things I have learned from watching ITV’s Marcella

1) Sometimes the police officers are more frightening than the serial killers: Genuinely, if there was a choice between being stuck in a lift with Marcella or with PTA mum-cum-midwife-cum-maniac Jane Colletti, I’d choose the latter. Jane has a neat kitchen, a neat perm and uses lots of antiseptic. Marcella hacks off her own hair in a sink, slashes her face into a Chelsea smile, smashes colleagues over the head with the lid of a toilet cistern and cuts children with Stanley knives. You wouldn’t catch Jane screaming at the traffic (granted, she does lobotomise children who she thinks are evil, but be honest, we’ve all thought about it, haven’t we?).

2) Do not develop a strange walk in order to hammer home how London Noir you are: Marcella has a really strange walk: It’s a cross between looking like a peacock strut and as if she’s riding an invisible horse. Anna cleared up the debate on Twitter: “Some characters have a funny walk. Marcella is one of those.” It’s as we thought: Marcella is actually Mrs Twolumps from Monty Python and is working for the Ministry of Silly Walks.

3) Always take the opportunity to swap your DNA with someone else, you never know if it might be handy for the finale of series two: Extra team points if you remember that in series one, Marcella swapped her DNA with a homeless woman’s to stop her being linked to (another) murder scene.

4) If you run out of paper, write on the window: It’s harder to take the window to the shops if it’s a shopping list, but you will look cool and edgy. And you might solve a murder while you’re at it, or at the very least you can cover up the smears on the window and stave off cleaning it for a bit longer.

5) If you are going to be a serial killer, you need to have a whole host of abandoned buildings available to you at a moment’s notice: You’ll need your grandmother’s creepy house (with a massive basement), a farmhouse (nice to have a place in the country) and a wine warehouse in the city where you can perform rudimentary surgery and lobotomies. This is not a time to be half-hearted.

6) Equally, never moan about not having enough time for your hobbies ever again: Jane Corletti stalked, abducted, operated on and then lobotomised 17 children before photographing them in a series of complicated poses – she then disposed of the bodies in a series of fiendish ways that led police on a merry dance and seemingly avoided all CCTV cameras. She did this while single-handedly raising a daughter, keeping a very lovely home, being a midwife, volunteering at Maya’s children’s charity and being the local busybody. What’s your excuse?

7) Never ignore a blinking light on your laptop: It might be a battery warning. But then again, it might be a creepy colleague who has installed Spyware on your machine and is watching you all the time. To be fair, if anyone tried this with me, they’d enjoy some fabulous close-ups: of the inside of my laptop bag.

8) Sometimes the person you least suspect turns out to be a crazed serial killer on a vigilante mission to purge society of future abusers: who’d have thought it would be the new artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe (actress Michelle Terry)?

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