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Monday, 18 June 2012

Did we feel True Love for BBC1's latest drama?

BBC1’s airing their first ever improvised drama. David Tennant’s starring in the first episode. Well, you had me at ‘improvised drama’, but with David Tennant leading the way, what could possibly go wrong?

Sadly, several things.

Perhaps the first downfall was the length of the episode. 30 minutes. Twenty minutes shorter than an episode of Countdown. If it takes 50 minutes to play what is essentially a studio-based game of boggle, how are we supposed to believe, with just half an hour’s character development, that Nick (David Tennant) is questioning his entire marriage because his ‘old-flame’ from 17 years ago has turned up?

Secondly, the scheduled time of transmission. 10:35? On a ‘school night’? I’m lucky if I’ve not rolled off the sofa in a deep slumber by 10pm. And if you’re going to stay up specially to watch a highly anticipated drama such as this, you’re hoping it’s not all over in the blink of an eye.

The production seems to be set to some sort of ‘cd-you’d-buy-your-mum-on-
mothers-day’ soundtrack with clichéd, gushy love songs belting out at every opportunity. The slightest scene change and Dionne Warwick starts warbling about ‘What the World Needs Now’. An ambiguous stare outto sea and Roberta Flack starts reminiscing about ‘The First Time I Ever Saw your Face’.

Whilst Dominic Savage’s scriptless drama series is ambitious, this first episode (one of five) falls slightly short of the BBC’s promise that the conflict of desire and responsibility can be explosive”.

David Tennant and Vicky McClure tried their best.

When the sultry Serena (Vicky McClure) turns up at Nick’s workplace one morning, seventeen years after their relationship ended, he suddenly finds he can’t stop thinking about her. Going against the prudent advice of his colleague to “stay away from her”, he instead embarks on a brief affair with, let’s be honest, a woman who, for all he knows, could have become a serial killer in the decade and a half since they last saw each other.

In fact, the most implausible aspect of the entire episode (that’s right, all thirty minutes of it) is that David Tennant’s character seems to seriously consider running away and leaving his gorgeous wife, Ruth (Joanne Froggatt) and their kids after a single erotic encounter with Serena. Perhaps someone should have told Tennant and Froggatt to downplay their fictional relationship, as their ‘love’ was one of the most credible parts of the story. Their frequent affectionate gestures towards each other made it even less believable that a man like Nick would contemplate leaving his family for another woman.

Having said all this the improvisation by all involved showcased just how talented these actors are and I can’t help thinking that if each episode had been extended to an hour, we, as viewers, would have fallen more in love with idea of True Love.

-          Lacey Turner (Eastenders), who had a brief appearance in last night’s episode, stars in part two tonight with Ashley Walters (Inside men, Five Days).

-          Early ratings show True Love averaged at 3.1 million.

True Love continues till Wednesday at 10.35pm

Contributed by Vicki Greenfield Follow Vicki on Twitter


Deltawing said...

I'm assuming its a bit of an experiment for the BBC, and the chance for them to show they're showing something for a female audience whilst the footballs on.
Pleasant enough but didn't really go anywhere unless the plot threads are going to be picked up in one of the other stories (which I doubt).

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