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Luther Series 4 - reaching spectacular new heights!

Matthew Mosley

Assistant Script Editor

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Do you know where the word 'geek' comes from? Neither did I, until I worked with Neil Cross - Emmy award-nominated writer and compendium of outré knowledge - on the new series of Luther. It turns out that, to the denizens of the first half of the twentieth century, a geek was someone who bit the heads off live chickens in a circus sideshow. Neil recommended that I read forgotten pulp classic Nightmare Alley to get up to speed with the dark underbelly of carnival culture.

Neil and I had our geek chat while coming up with a fictional company during the neg-check process, normally one of the more tedious tasks of the script editor. The name of every character, street, business, publication etc. must be cleared for use on screen. But combing through the new Luther scripts with Neil, it was a delight to see how the smallest details are carefully chosen to resonate with the themes or imagery of the show - the geek reference being one tiny example.

Image credit: BBC/Steffan Hill

What first strikes the eye on opening a Luther script, with Neil's liberal use of block caps and onomatopoeia, is the amazing kinetic energy - they are compulsively readable. What's less in-your-face, but what makes Luther so ardently loved by its fans, is the deeply-felt emotion and the epic themes that underpin each story. We knew we had to do something pretty special with this fourth series, after that iconic Southwark Bridge denouement of series three, and worked hard on ramping up the emotional stakes. I can't say more for fear of spoilers - and don't worry, there's still plenty of badassery (to use a very Neil word).

#LuthersBack for a 2 part special on BBC One

When the scripts were ready, the crack troops of the Luther crew took over and it was amazing to see what each brought to the project. Director Sam Miller, production designer Paul Cross, costume designer James Keast (to name but a few) have all returned series after series and operate together like a well-oiled Volvo. This time around it feels like all the stops have been thoroughly pulled out - I hope you'll agree that the Luther aesthetic has been taken to spectacular new heights in series 4.

Oh, and see if you can spot that geek reference when Luther airs on Tuesday - blink and you'll miss it...

Watch Luther series 4 on BBC One at 9pm 15th & 22nd December 2015 and on BBC iPlayer

Find out more on the Luther website including:

Meet the characters

Watch the Journey so Far

Download and read the scripts for Luther series 1 & series 3


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