WHOEVER came up with the name for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act should really have given some thought to the acronym. As if the so-called snooper’s charter wasn’t going to be controversial enough, “Ripa” also brings to mind some of the most infamous murderers in UK history.
No wonder Jed Mercurio, when penning his latest BBC drama Bodyguard, decided to make his Home Secretary a cheerleader for beefing up the legislation. A politician who seeks to persecute minorities or deport at-risk families isn’t nearly complex enough. Better to leave room for ambiguity, so the viewers can’t quite be sure if Keeley Hawes’s character is a terrorism-tackling goodie or a power-hungry baddie.
The references to Ripa might have felt a little retro to those watching the show’s opening double bill – as the legislation hasn’t been amended in more than eight years – but the real-life conviction of a murder suspect days later brought things bang up to date.
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Published in The National on September 7 2018.