Denial – BBC2

Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall are on riveting form in this courtroom drama based on the so-called 'Holocaust Trial' of 1998

Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall are on riveting form in this courtroom drama based on the so-called ‘Holocaust Trial’ of 1998.

The case involved US academic Deborah Lipstadt (Weisz), who took on notorious anti-Semitic historian David Irving (Spall, notably oily) in a landmark libel trial in the British courts.

Scripted by David Hare, the film sometimes overdoes its ironies and culture clashes as Weisz’s stubbornly independent American gets to grips with the fusty British legal system, but the best scenes – Lipstadt’s flinty exchanges with her uncompromising solicitor, Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott, excellent), and aloof barrister, Richard Rampton (Wilkinson), a moving research trip to Auschwitz and the climactic trial scenes themselves – are compelling and illuminating.

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