The Fall: Skydive Murder Plot review – how did this astonishing true-crime story end up like Mrs Brown’s Boys?

The Fall: Skydive Murder Plot review – how did this astonishing true-crime story end up like Mrs Brown’s Boys?

Victoria Cilliers miraculously survived a skydive with no parachutes – because her husband had tampered with them. Now her story hits our screens, only to be blighted by bizarre, Brendan O’Carroll-esque reconstructions

The attempted murder of Victoria Cilliers is, for a true-crime programme-maker, a gift. Cilliers, an experienced skydiving instructor, miraculously survived a 4,000ft drop when, in 2015, both her main and reserve parachutes failed to open during a skydive in Netheravon, Wiltshire. As police came to suspect her husband, Emile, of having tampered with Victoria’s equipment, they learned that Victoria had also survived a gas leak at the family home a week earlier. Further investigation revealed a coercive and controlling relationship, with Emile’s treatment of his previous romantic partners displaying a similar pattern. But this made securing a conviction harder, because Victoria had been so profoundly manipulated that at Emile’s two trials, she spoke in his favour, not against him.

The Fall: Skydive Murder Plot can draw on a powerful combination of Victoria’s unbelievable good luck in surviving, Emile’s Wile E Coyote-esque approach to uxoricide, and the difficult, dark challenges the justice system faces when a coercive controller is a defendant. The compelling three-part documentary almost makes itself, if its makers can only get out of the way of the tale and tell it. But The Fall’s producers opt for a tricksy deconstruction of the true-crime medium that the story barely survives.

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