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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Dustbin Baby, BBC1

Did we like it?
It's a hard life if you're dumped in a bin behind a pizza restaurant on the day you're born but, in the wonderful world of BBC1 Sunday afternoon drama, it'll be alright in the end and you'll have a shiny pink mobile phone for your birthday alongside those unwanted moonstone earrings – and someone to call mum.

What was good about it?
• Juliet Stevenson can be truly maddening as an actress but we loved her as stately home guide Marion, who was trying her hardest to be a good mother to April Johnson (Dakota Blue Richards), a teenager who was only very slightly stroppy. Even Marion's failure to grasp mobile phone technology was funny ("It's got blue teeth or something").
• Jacqueline Wilson's story was slender but the 90 minutes didn't drag as April went in search of her roots, with flashbacks to the troubles in her 14-year-old life, documented in a dictionary-thick social work file noting the suicide of her adoptive mother, brief brushes with unsuitable fosteri parents, being bullied in a care home and being forced to help the home's delinquents break into houses.
• David Haig was jolly as Marion's colleague Elliott.

What was bad about it?
• The yobby kids seemed to be based a little too closely on Daily Mail horror stories. "If we see her, we'll bash her for you, right?" they told a frantic Marion, searching for the missing April. "I'd much rather you didn't," Marion replied disarmingly.

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