Jemima Shore Investigates is a television series from 1983 based on the character in Antonia Fraser’s novels. Jemima (somehow you have to call her that) is an investigative journalist and TV presenter whose enquiries, both in her personal and professional capacity, take her into the homes and lives of the wealthy and the privileged, a milieu far removed from the stern grandeur of Belfast and its inhabitants. Unlike Gibson (but who knows?) her world is peopled with lords and viscounts and marquesses.
Patricia Hodge is fabulous as Jemima, again a somewhat enigmatic character, who is rich, spoilt and a little bit precious, but pursues justice with fierce determination. We know that she likes good coffee and drives a Mercedes. She, like Gibson, is tough and feminine. Like Gibson, she has a sharp mind and a dismissive tongue. Like Gibson she has ‘unsuitable’ lovers, married or unreliable or much younger than her. She has the disadvantage of being an 1980s’ lady, but her cool beauty carries off the Farah Fawcett flicks and the fussy clothes which look high-street even if they aren’t, and she does a good line in lip gloss.
The Fall is in a different league and a different genre from Jemima Shore Investigates, but to my eye there is a strong visual resemblance between Gillian Anderson now and Patricia Hodge in the 1980s, and there are these teasing similarities between the two characters.
Allan Cubitt says he had Anderson in mind for the role he created, and her character in The Fall inevitably reminds us of Scully from the X Files. I wonder, though, if he has subliminal memories of the earlier classy, independent, glamorous investigator.