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Anne Perry Interiors on - The Best Documentaries... Instantly On Demand

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“I knew it was wrong and I knew I would have to pay for it”: Anne’s broken voice bounces off the walls of her remote home in Scotland as she talks about the murder, “I was terrified Pauline would take her life and it would be my fault”. Pauline was the intensely close girlfriend whose mother was murdered by the young tormented teenagers. It’s the first time Anne has spoken about the murder, almost 60 years ago. Yet the guilt for what she did is everywhere apparent: in her ceaseless writing, in her defensive wit, even in this living room’s comfortingly high walls: “I did something stupid that I regretted for the rest of my life…but I can’t undo it”, she says, almost without hope.

When the world discovered Anne Perry’s story she retreated to an isolated Scottish farm, and surrounded herself with a close coterie of friends, who would each defend her “like a bulldog”. Years after the flashbulbs have stopped popping, Anne still comforts herself in constant writing and quiet routines, shying away from new relationships: “when you are going to work very hard at any job, there’s going to be a certain amount of social connections you sacrifice”.

The characters in her novels attempt to overcome pasts that haunt them, and the people around her have become like characters themselves. “Whatever she is working on, changes all of us”, says her best friend, Amy. And another of her constant companions and supporters is her brother and editor, who is by her side every day. She has constructed in her remote Scottish existence a life of unimaginable and comfortable isolation.

Yet through her loneliness, Anne sees that a sea-change is coming. “You will meet the right person”, says her friend Amy, “but you have to get out of your comfort zone”. Speaking about what happened is a sudden breakthrough. But her brother feels that her complete absorption in her writing will never leave space for a man in her life. “A good writer can give you a multitude of lives. A multitude of joyous experiences and a few unpleasant ones too.”

A powerful documentary about the burden of guilt. The real story is not thrust in the face of the viewer – rather it emerges as a powerful growing veneer, a haunting skin taking over the immediate narrative. The viewer will be left pondering this story weeks after the viewing.


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