Mr Bates vs the Post Office: The Real Story (2024)


Mr Bates vs the Post Office: The Real Story

This Sunday, the “Masterpiece” series of PBS imports from Britain presents to American audiences the four-part “Mr. Bates vs The Post Office,” which caused a sensation when it was broadcast in January in the U.K. The title suggests something maybe comical or fluffy a man can’t get his mail delivered, or the postman keeps tramping through his flower bed (I know no postman would really do that) as does the companionable presence of Toby Jones as Mr. Alan Bates, not to be confused with the actor.

The truth is darker. This is a 20-year Kafkaesque nightmare during which nearly a thousand “subpostmasters,” running franchised branches of Post Office Limited, were falsely accused, and often convicted, of theft, false accounting and fraud over accounting shortfalls that were in fact the fault of a bug-riddled computer accounting system called Horizon and supplied by Fujitsu that the Post Office insisted was perfectly fine. (“Robust” is the word we hear repeated.) People were made to “pay back” money that was never missing in the first place; they lost livelihoods, life savings, reputations and homes; there were bankruptcies and suicides.

The sweet-faced Jones if you loved him in “Detectorists” you should love him here, though he’s playing a part not a million miles away stars as Alan, who is quiet but stubbornly resolute leader of this resistance movement against authority figures; he also acts as central hub connecting various stories throughout series. His war with authorities begins 2003 Llandudno North Wales where he’s got justice for post office victims sign hanging outside his shop front alongside partner Suzanne Sercombe’s wool shop base too.

Then at start first episode black cars full men wearing black trenchcoats turn up outside shop front accompanied by action film music before shutting down rest business operations by force due lack cooperation from those involved including himself whom they suspect might have some knowledge about what went wrong recently within that particular organization associated more commonly known as British postal service provider limited or just post office for short. He has already refused to endorse figures produced by what he calls “fancy new computer system that they’ve spent an arm and a leg on” because he suspects it’s at fault.

In Hampshire South Warnborough where picturesque landscapes are seen often enough even during episodes like this one titled “Midsomer Murders”, subpostmistress Jo Hamilton (Monica Dolan who happens be amazing) walking past pond carrying tray filled with freshly baked buns towards village shop & post office where she greeted by name friendly neighbours; always smiling helps pensioner get through her pension book then opens up ready serve customers before suddenly finding herself arguing against horizon machine which refuses work properly causing financial imbalance but insists nothing is wrong with its functioning whenever contacted through helpline services designed offer technical assistance troubleshooting such situations even though it doesn’t seem understand anything said over phone apart from repeating same phrase again “I’m sorry we can’t help you any further because there no problem our side.” (This device portrayed very villainous manner resembling hal 9000 supercomputer). According flummoxed jo said whoever answered line must be thinking it’d be logical her being one having trouble using since technology isn’t strong point but no.

In East Yorkshire Bridlington area town dubbed Britain’s busiest seaside resort, subpostmaster Lee Castleton played brilliantly by will mellor is calling help line number once again for record breaking ninety first time inquiring if someone could please assist him solve his current dilemma regarding inability access certain features within latest version software update installed successfully onto personal computer yesterday morning prior opening business hours today already reaching early evening thus far couple minutes before six o’clock pm; according usual response received upon such occasions being told nobody else has reported experiencing similar issue so everything appears running smoothly besides accounts having been secured against possible unauthorized entry attempts by hackers who might want steal money from post office which still requires immediate settling payment all due monies owed on account right away without any further delay whatsoever. When wife Lisa (Amy Nuttall) asks what he plans to do. “Fight,” says Lee.

In a village hall in the center of town, all these people and more will be coming together to form the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance. There are meetings and mediations and courtroom scenes “Mr. Bates” is partly a legal drama, partly a conspiracy thriller along with passages that show different kinds of damage. Things go up, things go down. Sympathetic members of Parliament (Alex Jennings), an independent auditor (Ian Hart) and a lawyer (John Hollingworth) help out. Although ultimately uplifting these stories of little guys taking on fat cats always are; it’s a sentimental movie tradition its prevailing mood is frustration. Terrible things will happen before we’re through. And we’re not through.

Even at four hours, this is not the whole story of what has been a long and tangled fight which is not to say that, except for some acknowledged name changes and invented scenes, it isn’t true or that it doesn’t hit the important points; the Wikipedia article “British Post Office scandal” runs to 16,000 words.) It is cast with actors who can make whole characters from dialogue that is 90% exposition, supplemented by smidgens of domestic detail: Alan assembles a picnic table; Lee’s daughter can’t find her sneakers.

But above all else “Mr. Bates vs The Post Office” indicts bureaucratic arrogance and the familiar reluctance of institutions to admit mistakes or rectify them when admitted.(Lia Williams as Post Office CEO Paula Vennells and Katherine Kelly as “business improvement director” Angela van den Bogerd personify the enemy.)

“Are they just incompetent, Alan,” asks Jo, “or just evil?”

“It comes to the same thing in the end,” says Alan.

It’s no spoiler to say that Goliath does not win this one in the end. That wouldn’t be much worth watching; I wouldn’t recommend it. And yet, though much has been admitted and in some cases resolved, the wheels of restorative justice grind as slowly as the responsible parties want them to or can get away with. Public protest has led to new legislation intended to speed things up, in terms of overturning convictions and compensating victims, but obfuscation and obstruction still seem to be the order of the day. This is an ongoing drama that you can follow more or less live on British television sites and YouTube channels.

And “Mr Bates vs the Post Office” has become part of the story itself When it premiered Jan. 1 in Britain, a story that had been reported over many years but never taken up as a cause célèbre hit the front page. The prime minister spoke out. More victims came forward. If you really want to make people mad about something these days, put it on television.

Watch Mr Bates vs the Post Office: The Real Story For Free On Gomovies.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top