This was an incredible piece of drama. Heartbreaking, horrific, and completely absorbing.
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Whilst I enjoyed Downton Abbey, Joanne Froggatt’s character Anna was a bit bland and goodygoody for me. But blimey! Froggatt’s portrayal of Cotton blew me away. I felt sympathetic at several points despite the mounting pile of bodies. The worst parts were the death of her own daughter, treated as accidental and unintended in this version, and the murder of her best friend: the pain, regret and despair were brilliantly acted.
Froggatt also conveyed the chilling unemotional side excellently. Towards the end of the second episode my sympathy had dried up as Cotton became more ruthless and I hoped she would be stopped before she turned her dispassionate gaze upon her poor stepson. No such luck for him but it marked the end of her killing spree.
This piece of drama was inspired by a book which I definitely intend to read. I have already googled the case but still struggle to understand the psychology behind the murders. I cannot imagine giving birth to 13 children nor living in the poverty of Victorian England. To then murder those children to collect insurance money seems completely illogical to me due to the effort involved in labour and the maternal instincts I feel towards my own children. I wonder if the natural deaths of her first children caused her to distance herself from her children or maybe she suffered from postpartum psychosis. Or perhaps I am influenced by the TV show to feel an emotional connection with and makes excuses for someone who in fact was just plain evil.
Well done to all involved in this excellent programme!