Spector review – a complex portrait of the murderer behind pop’s most iconic songs
This four-part series about Phil Spector walks the tightrope between sensitive and salacious – and refuses to diminish the importance of Lana Clarkson, the woman he killed
Spector died in a prison hospital in January 2021, the BBC headline was “Talented but flawed producer Phil Spector dies aged 81”. Outrage ensued that the famous rock’n’roll figure, accused of abuse by myriad women, and convicted of murdering Lana Clarkson, could be defined in such breezy terms. The BBC quickly apologised, but the incident spoke to the difficulty of portraying violent creators of beloved work.
When it comes to documentaries, the tightrope between sensitive and salacious is a perilous one to walk. Last year’s We Need to Talk About Cosby and 2016’s OJ: Made in America grappled with exactly this difficulty. Both addressed the issue of how we paint a picture of remarkable achievement and its cultural impact, how to understand the behaviour of the men and the system that protected them – without excusing the heinous crimes they committed. And Spector (Sky Documentaries) seeks to do the same, as it plunges into the life of the murderer responsible for some of the most recognisable pop songs of the 20th century.