The Governor (TV Series 1995–1996) Poster

(1995–1996)

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8/10
Well made prison show
katjoeus18 September 2017
It was a bit of a slow start for me, but as the series went on, I really got into it - well made in a non-American kind of way (i.e., realistic and not over the top). Characters one comes to know and sometimes like, sometimes despise and an impressive portrayal of the dreariness of prison life - and also getting the point across that quite a percentage of inmates probably suffer from mental illness. Not a fun show but worth watching!!
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Janet McTeer, The Younger Years
brazosbard9 September 2017
If you are a fan of Janet McTeer, as am I, then this British TV series, The Governor, now on Acorn TV, is a gem of her years as a young actress in B-movies in which she steals all of the scenes. Her performance in The White Queen caught my attention and I searched IMDb for more. Through her filmography that is available on Netflix, Amazon, and Acorn, her growth into a mature actress is a wonderful thing to watch.
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8/10
A WOMAN'S PLACE Warning: Spoilers
Acorn Video is offering a series most here are not aware of, at least I know I wasn't, that presents an interesting situation that deserves consideration. THE GOVERNOR is about a woman placed in charge of a maximum security prison housing all man. Some would say this was no place for a woman. The series sets out to prove them wrong and does so admirably.

The series opens with a riot in Barfield Prison, the end result being the death of an inmate and the removal of the warden in charge. A believer in new ways of dealing with prisoners this warden had gone so far as to allow prisoners their own key to their cells. His removal leaves an opening that few want to take. So the board offers it to Helen Hewitt (Janet McTeer), deputy of a women's prison in London, who was part of the team investigating the incident.

The intent of the board, or at least several members, is to place her in charge with the expectation to fail. That result is pretty much guaranteed for whoever takes the position. It is paying lip service to promoting a woman to this position so they can claim they did so before inserting the person they actually want without their bias being apparent.

But Helen proves them wrong. The inmate's death had been ruled a suicide but Helen saw numerous signs to make her believe he was murdered. Once she takes to her office she begins her own investigation into the inmate's death. What she discovers is a cover up and involvement of several guards alongside several prisoners. Revealing all of this will end up one of two ways, her taking command admirably of the prison or her death.

Since that first episode ended up followed by more you can guess what the outcome is. But that is just the kick off point for the series which remained interesting throughout. The trials and tribulations of Helen Hewitt as the first female governor of an institution like this are vast. All of them involve different storylines that have a way of coming together in different ways than one would expect.

The initial riot at the prison left much of it in tatters. A project to rebuild much of what was destroyed is ongoing from that first episode forward. A revamping of the methods used in the prison is also in order after the actions of various guards from that episode. Prisoner's reactions to new rules are shown. Escapes happen. Protocol is either followed or not and the results are shown. Items big and small create havoc or control. All of this works to make a series that's interesting and unpredictable.

McTeer has always provided solid performances and this series, airing in 1995-96, should have been a breakout role for her. Why that never happened I'll never know. But she shows an ability here to present a character in control on the surface while unsure of herself in private that was fascinating to watch. That we have this to view now thanks to Acorn is something to be treasured.

The series though complete here is only two seasons long and just 12 episodes altogether. That makes it one of those series that can be binged watched in a weekend and my guess is that those who take the chance will do so. Once you get started watching the odds are good that you won't want to stop.
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3/10
COMPLETELY wrong casting slightly hurts an already seriously wounded lame duck
geordiesdad5 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
It's VERY difficult to believe that this lame duck lasted even 1 season...never mind 2. The lead actress has all the skill of a first year acting school graduate...her scared,surprised,shocked or amazed looks being exactly the same and looking somewhat like a cross between a Deer caught in the headlights and a petulant 5 year old. The plots are seriously amateur with so many ridiculous situations that one has to wonder why ANY of the inmates are still there. Let's start with the first move in the show.....a junior member of an all woman's institute is 'BUMPED' up....promotion wise, to the governor of a LARGE male-only prison...complete with lots of dangerous convicts. If this sounds just a tiny bit unlikely...stay tuned....it gets even more implausible. Some of the situations are so see-through that anyone could predict the most likely next scene with almost no difficulty. Leave this loser on the shelf and join me in wondering how on earth it scored so high.
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