A transit smashes through the iron gates of a cemetery and four women clad in bridal white spill out with shovels. They drag a corpse from the wet earth, then career through the streets of Edinburgh in search of other, living victims. A trembling Welshman and a cocky joyrider are bundled into the back at gunpoint, then the van arrives at a church and the foursome sweep through the doors, a shiny silver Magnum carried before them like a cross. “This is a house of God,” cries the priest. “God moved out the day you moved in,” one replies, and he’s trussed in the Transit before you can say “Hail, Mary”. One fast cut later and the men are kneeling, hands tied tight, at the edge of a deserted Leith dockside. One by one, the women step forward and place a bullet in the skull of the wretch before them. With steps so well synchronised they could be a dance troupe, they kick forwards and the bodies plunge into the dark waters below. The women pause for a moment, then turn and make for the van, shoulders back and heads held high. Four Weddings and a Funeral? Four Murders and a Drugs Binge maybe. This is Irvine Welsh, after all. And yet behind the obvious mayhem of his first full-length drama for TV, there is a different version of Welsh emerging. Sure, there is bestiality, incest, necrophilia, booze, violence and drugs, ranging from crack cocaine to cheap amphetamines. The story of Wedding Belles, however, is one of four women’s friendship and how it is tested as one of them approaches her wedding day. Amanda (Michelle Gomez) is getting married. She’s dated some scum, so she’s happy to snare a pilot with no obvious vices. But although she can’t yet see it, her three best friends are staggering towards her nuptials hiding secrets as dark as that midnight water. Shaz (Kathleen McDermott) is selling black-market Viagra to her nursing-home residents and dealing with the attentions of a randy vicar. Kelly (Shirley Henderson) has covered her years of abuse for too long and the horror is starting to escape. Rhona (Shauna Macdonald) has become a junkie since her fiancé was murdered and has bought a gun to top herself. The details are grotesque, but the way the women save each other has an old-fashioned charm.
Wedding Belles was originally screened on Channel Four in March, 2007.