Tuesday, 26 June 2012

TRUE LOVE


TRUE LOVE IS NEVER EASY...




Television Event takes a look at the first episode of five part drama True Love... 


It was intriguing from the start five tales of True Love that overlap and somehow interlink into each other. Somewhat a new and novel idea, a  five part drama that's entirely improvised by the actors and a stella cast including in the first episode David Tennant, Downton Abbey start Joanna Forggatt and This is England actress Vicky McClure would all indicate a new compelling drama that would knock people off their feet with this new style of television.

Set in the seaside town of Margate the first of five love stories starts with the happily married couple Nick and Ruth played by David Tennant and Joanna Forggatt, the couple are celebrating Ruth's birthday, with two very well behaved teenagers. They appear to have the perfect life, a house, children, each other, they are content.

This quickly unravels as, Nick's first love Serena suddenly makes an appearance, after a 17 year absence. Despite knowing Nick is married and she definitely shouldn't see him, she does the exact opposite and makes a quick visit to his office to let him know she's in town for a few days... After that it's lots of seducing staring, "secret" meetings, and a very public kiss on the seafront in a small town where gossip no doubt gets around. Ultimately it leads to a steamy romp in a hotel room and we should have always been together speech. Before as quick as  the puff of smoke that she arrived in she's gone again. With Nick returning to his home and wife he makes a brief apology to the all knowing Ruth who bumped into Serena earlier in the episode.

Perhaps it was the fact it was only half an hour long, but it all seemed rather rushed and unbelievable. They always say True Love is never easy, however in this instant it all seemed to come a little too easy, Nick seemed to have no moral conscience of embarking on an affair that could potentially destroy his family, with a rather long kiss on the seafront for all of Margate to see. 

Or rather maybe it was a lack of a script, it almost seemed as though there was silent awkward moments for half the episode rather than natural silent moments. It appeared as though there was a lack of direction of where to go with these characters in so little screen time. The music didn't help either, throughout the slushy undertones seemed to be over emphasizing moments in an attempt to drive the narrative forward, rather than adding to the story. That's not to say that this is not an interesting piece of drama perhaps it’s simply a need to watch the rest of the episodes and see how the five love stories all linked together.

David Tennant has clearly managed to shake off any fears of being typecast since leaving his role of the Doctor. As he excels at playing an extremely unlikeable character, not content with the life he has with his wife and children, whom he seems quite happy to forget about for 48 hours, for a quick romp and is contemplating running away with. Joanna Forggatt also beautifully plays the all knowing wife, who clearly struggles with the knowledge that her husband is cheating. As we see her character Ruth torn throughout the episode over whether to let this affair go or not knowing the potentially damaging consequences for her family. Vicky McClure has a clear chemistry with Tennant and their on screen reunion as Nick and Serena isn’t awkward in the slightest it’s like they’ve have never been apart.

Perhaps what was lacking in this episode was the True Love part, as it all felt a bit quick, like a drunken fumble were you wake up the next day and think shouldn't have done that...

True Love is never easy,  maybe by tearing up the script, True Love is the start of a new and exciting way of making television and for now I'm just too blind to see it. However for now I'm sorry to say I think it's going to sit in the box of experimental television, that didn't quite live up to it's full potential.

The first episode along with the whole series is still currently available to watch on BBC iplayer, 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01k692v/True_Love_Nick/

The series is also available on Play.com and Amazon.com.


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

ORIGINAL REALITY TELEVISION...



                                                      56 Up

The programme that started 49 years ago was originally only intended for one edition. It brought us an insight into a group of 7 year olds, their hopes, fears, dreams and aspirations for the future. Since then the programme has become a unique social documentary, returning each 7 years. We get a sneak peak into the participants lives and what's happened since we last saw them on television 7 years previously. The first in a three part documentary series revisit the lives Sue, Paul, Neil and Peter.

Sue is appears happier then she's ever been happily married with two children and teaching at a university, despite not having been herself. Paul a man who when we first saw him at the age of 7 was in care, is now

happily married and living in Australia, with his children and grand children. He still appears somewhat at odds with his low-self esteem, that we've seen him battle with over the years, when asked about his wife he says “I can tell you how I feel about her, but I have difficulty telling her…”. Perhaps a true reflection of life, that we all have our own inner demons and struggles that can't easily be erased.

Neil who in 28 Up was homeless and living on the streets in Scotland, is now living in Cumbria and a Liberal Democrat councillor, still philosophical about the world still troubled and is still yet to find love. Peter who dropped out after 28 Up after having a backlash from the rightwing press for his views on Thatcher at the time is back seemingly just to promote his band The Good Intentions inspired by the artist Graham Parsons.

Although we only glimpse into their lives every 7 years it's been a lasting and binding relationship, like having an old friend who we only see now and then getting together for a good catch up. We've seen this group of 7 year olds grow up over the years, their highs and lows, children, grandchildren, their losses and love come and go. We've seen the history of their lives, what's shaped and moulded them into the people they are today and the people they could become in future years. There is no hidden agenda, the participants have no contract they can take part or refuse as many times as they like, ultimately it's television that the audience can truly relate too.

As a programme it's by no means perfect out of the 13 participations only 4 selected were female, when the programme originally started in 1964, at the time it may have seemed like a broad spectrum of society, by today's standards it indeed seems a very narrow representation of our society. It is also a small compressed snapshot into their lives every 7 years, simply 15 minutes of television to be precise and that cannot by no means tell the whole story of their lives.

However, perhaps most importantly because it's a show that to it's very core is about people, the happiness and struggles faced in everyday lives making it ultimately a programme everyone can relate to. It may only be a snapshot of their lives every 7 years but it feels far more real and moving then any current reality show.

The first episode of 56 Up is currently available to watch on itv player.
 http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/video/?Filter=316919

56 Up is next on Monday 21st May ITV 1, 9PM.

Monday, 16 January 2012

SHERLOCK- THE REICHENBACH FALL

It's only January yet it seems we've already seen British television at its best...



It's been three all too quick weeks but Sherlock came to its dramatic conclusion last night, with a breathtaking cliff-hanger. There was no fancy technology used, no dramatic explosions, no long goodbyes, and thankfully there was not any of the very much overused "let's make this look dramatic by using slow-motion" in the series finale The Reichenbach Fall. There was just a moving and sad goodbye from Watson who simply pleaded for Sherlock not to be dead.

Sherlock is quite simply British Television at its best, superb acting, fantastic writing and brilliant filming. Who'd have thought that by time-travelling Sherlock into the 21st century, it's not only brought a breath of fresh air to British Television, but also displayed why even today, Conan Doyle's novels are so supremely brilliant. 

 The Reichenbach Fall is based on the story of the Final Problem and the untimely demise and death of Sherlock by his arch-nemesis Moriarty. In the books Moriarty was only there for a couple of fleeting moments simply to bring Sherlock's downfall, yet he became the known as the greatest arch-enemy of all time. And in this 21st century adaptation, Andrew Scott gave Moriarty his brief outing as the lead in the series 1 and 2 finale. A performance that will no doubt become iconic and know as one of the great if not the greatest portrayal of Moriarty.

Andrew Scott's portrayal has been mesmerising throughout his time on screen, a rather sane psycho path who seemed to genuinely like and enjoy Sherlock's company because he was a challenge and far from ordinary. When James Moriarty also known as Jim to friends and arch-nemesis alike, erased his entire history and created a whole new identity in the form of Richard Brooke. It was hard not to question Sherlock and his methods in particular when we saw Richard Brooke appear to run away in fear of Sherlock. Throughout his time on the show Andrew Scott's performance was a sheer joy to watch and dare I say that I'm actually rather sad Moriarty has already come to a rather quick demise, or so it would appear...

Once again both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman proved that it's not all down to the writing, it has to be a combination of everything. Cumberbatch and Freeman's performances as a duo is one that will stand the test of time. There both Ying and Yang to each other. It's genuinely heart-warming to watch a truly beautiful and understated friendship come to life on screen. And this is what seems to not only make the characters work but actually makes it all the more real for the viewer, as in real life we rarely say how we truly feel about someone until it really is too late. 

What was pure genius about the cliff-hanger ending is unlike Coyle Doyle's demise of Holmes, where there was no actual body found. Here Moffat and Gattias have left the audience on the biggest cliff-hanger of how on earth did he manage to cheat death when falling off a building and have a body appear readily at his disposal...

With two raising Hollywood stars and wanting to leave the audience hungry for more. I found myself at 22:28 on tenterhooks wondering whether Moffat and Gatiss had pulled off the biggest and best kept secret that recent television has seen... that this really was modern day Sherlock's final outing. Thankfully it's good to be wrong now and then. As it's been announced that a third series had actually been commissioned at the same time as the second. Now we've just got to wait until 2013 to find out just how exactly Sherlock managed to pull off cheating death itself and I for one cannot wait. Let the conspiracy theories begin.... 


If you've been a hermit recently or simply hidden under a rock for the past three weeks, have no fear all three episodes are still currently available on BBC iplayer.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01b2vl4/Sherlock_Series_2_The_Reichenbach_Fall/

Sherlock is released on DVD on 23rd January and is currently available to pre-order on both Amazon.co.uk and Play.com.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

JUST TO BE REMEMBERED...


FIRST LIGHT-BBC TWO DRAMA DOCUMENTARY.
Television Event looks back on one of the highlights of BBC Two's 70th anniversary of Battle of Britain season, drama doc First Light.

First Light, is a BBC documentary drama telling the story of 18 year old Geoffrey Wellum was one of the youngest Spitfire pilots to go into combat in the Battle of Britain. Which was shown as part of the Battle of Britain 70th anniversary last year.

It's a simply written, simply filmed and simply acted documentary drama taking us through the years of Battle of Britain through the eyes of Geoffrey and how he in his own words he became not a hero but a survivor. The simplest of this documentary drama, is what makes it ordinarily beautiful and it's exactly that which reminds the audience that these men fighting in the battle of Britain, weren't action heroes, nor were they just another number on a long list of pilots. They were simply ordinary men doing there bit, merely wanting to survive.


As the story unfolds there are , no dramatic deaths, no love triangles and no dramatic plot twists. What we do see is the story of their survival, the forming of a family, their struggle to cope with the horrors they face everyday and the knowledge that not all of them can survive weighing heavily on their shoulders.

One of the most moving scenes is simply portrayed with George's voiceover and a flying spitfire, when George talks about the freedom of flying the skies and how there is nothing quite like it,” flying alone nothing gives such a sense of mastery over mechanism, master indeed over space, time life itself, as this. Only the lonely threshers of the sky hidden from the earth have gazed on them. Only we who went up to the high places in the shadows of the wings."


This harrowing first hand account tells the tale of a survivor of Battle of Britain, in a way that makes us the audience realise and remember that these pilots weren't just a number of who fought in the Battle of Britain. They had lives before during and if they survived after the war. They were ordinary people, that went down to the pub for a drink after work, that laughed and cried with their friends and that these men that fought the battle of Britain could have been anyone of us today, from students, to bank managers, to the milkman, the bus driver dare it be said even politicians.

With it being an event that's 70 years in our past it's easy to forget now how easy we really do have it despite the world telling us that the economy is doomed, our grand children's children will be in debt and that essentially the world is quite literally falling apart around us. Ok so the last part may not be true just yet, but the point still stands, we've started to forget our history and our heritage. There were times so much darker and harder then we could possibly imagine.


We should remember that over 70 years ago now that these brave young men fought for the freedom of their country, they didn't ask or want to be heroes, they simply wanted to survive each day as it came. Sadly not all of them did and it's Geoffrey himself who puts it simply at the end of this truly moving piece of television "Nobody wants a medal, nobody wants a thank you, but it would be nice just to remembered because then you must think of all of us and not just those of us who survived."

 
First Light is currently available on BBC iplayer.


It is also available from both Play.com and Amazon.com.