ITV had another woke controversy – you might remember The Singapore Grip – after the release of their new fact-based drama, Honour. The two-part series depicts the investigation into the death of Banaz Mahmod, the victim of an ‘honour’ killing in 2006, ordered by her own father and uncle. Banaz had fled an abusive marriage and fallen in love with another man and she had warned the police five times that her family were plotting to have her killed.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the source of the controversy. That instead comes from DCI Caroline Goode, played by Keeley Hawes. Some have criticised the show for focusing on Goode, rather than Banaz Mahmod, saying that it projects a ‘white saviour’ narrative. This aside, the show handles complex themes: the misogyny that drives these killings, and racism in the police force, both of which fed into the environment in which a woman can be killed for kissing her boyfriend. It’s a difficult watch regardless of where you stand on the controversy.
In The Guardian, Chitra Ramaswamy says Honour “possesses a quiet authenticity that comes partly from Hawes – her performance is a study in controlled anguish.” Anita Singh in The Telegraph was critical of the show, but says: “the drama shone a light both on the failures to save Banaz and on the shocking subjugation of women within some immigrant communities.” Similarly, Ben Dowell in The Times says: “the power and momentum…rested in the emotional shocks that such human depravity instinctively provokes.”
First shown September 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.