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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

REVIEW: There She Goes is an important piece of TV.

Was BBC Four's new comedy There She Goes funny? No, not really. Was it an easy watch? No, not really. Did I enjoy it? I'm still not 100% sure if I'm honest. I already seem quite unqualified to be writing this review. There She Goes, which is airing on Tuesday nights at 10.00pm on BBC Four tells the story of a family dealing with the challenges presented by their 9-year-old daughter Rosie (Miley Locke) who has an unnamed chromosomal disorder which leaves her with no speech, limited understanding of those around her and the mental age of a toddler.

The five-parter comes from comedy writer and actor Shaun Pye who you may know as Andy's smug nemesis in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant comedy Extras. Pye, who also writes for Have I Got News for You, has penned this semi-autobiographical series and pulls no punches when it comes to showing the difficulties of family life with Rosie.  David Tennant takes Pye's role as Rosie's father Sinon whilst Jessica Hynes shines as her mother Emily. The show sees the family in two different timelines. One focuses on the months following Rosie's birth as the parents are convinced there is something wrong with their daughter, and another in 2006 with a 9-year old Rosie.

It's a difficult show for me to review because it feels so personal. Who I am I to have an opinion on a show so rooted in someone's reality? For me, the only mistake it makes is its label as a comedy.

Tennant's character Simon, particularly in the earlier timeline, makes a lot of comments about his baby daughter that could come across quite mean-spirited.  I can sympathise that the continuous challenges Rosie presents can leave him frustrated, and I'm sure a lot of it is lifted straight from Pye's mouth, but perhaps coming from Tennant it is quite off-putting and makes him seem cold.

The show is at its best when the focus is on Jessica Hynes as a mother who is desperate to do right by her daughter, but struggling to know exactly what the best thing is. She has the same frustrations as her husband but they come from a place of love. In one particularly heartbreaking scene in this opener,  sees her in tears. "It’s not that I don’t want to love her,” she says, standing beside her six-month-old’s cot. “I just don’t think I can.”  She feels terrible for thinking that of her daughter and for blaming Rosie for taking the place of the daughter she was meant to have. It's an incredibly heartbreaking scene that makes you really feel for a character you've spent last than 20 minutes with.

Tennant's character never quite reaches those heights because where Emily's frustrations result in her crying on her husband's shoulder, Simon's frustrations are let out through quick sarky comments. I can't decide whether this is true to Pye or whether he felt he needed to make Tennant's character more comedic for those expecting a more traditional half-hour comedy. There's a joke involving the group Simple Minds which made me feel uneasy and whilst he's not without his charms I found him a hard character to warm to.

All in all, it's a minor gripe. The BBC, and more importantly, Shaun Pye should be commended and praised for wanting to share such a personal story with an audience. Episode two sees Emily (Jessica Hynes) struggle at a mother and baby group confessing to her mother that, 'she hates to see normal children.' Emily's isolation and struggle is one rarely seen on television. I know this will ring true of a lot of parents regardless of their child's abilities. As someone with a disability myself, I know it will ring true for my parents. Hynes effortlessly demonstrates the feeling you have when your child is different and every child around you appears perfect.

Actress Miley Locke does an incredible job as Rosie and Edan Hayhurst as older brother Ben is equally impressive. It's an incredibly raw, emotional and important piece of television that I hope won't be hidden away on BBC Four forever.

There She Goes Continues Tuesday at 10.00pm on BBC Four.


Anonymous said...

Agree with your slight reservations about a pretty good show. Jessica Hynes is wonderful (of course), as is the young actress playing the daughter but David Tennant jars a bit. I think he is miscast as he comes with so much baggage as an actor that it looks as though the writer put in loads of sarky quips to inject the kind of verbal comedy the audience expect from Tennant. (There is a very insightful review on The Arts Desk site which picks up the same problem with casting David Tennant in this). Tt just unbalances the entire thing. I think if they had cast someone else who had better chemistry with Jessica Hynes it may have worked better but Jessica and Miley are so incredibly good it makes up for the miscasting of the father.

Not sure though I will stick with it as I feel we have learned so much about these characters that we are unlikely to find out too much more over the course of the series. Good writing though and secondary cast were good too.

Much preferred Butterfly as a family based dramady which I think nailed the central casting completely and was incredibly sensitive too.

Unknown said...

Without the filthy language and sexual comments which seems to pervade everything that excuses itself for comedy and for that matter drama, this could be a really good show. As someone who works with special needs children, I would have loved to watched this programme, however after ten minutes of filth, I couldn't stand it any longer.

Luke said...

I appreciate that. The language was completely uncalled for but I think you should've stuck with it.

lulu2480 said...

About what anonymous said (a person with several nicknamesthat uses to pop up at every comment thread regarding David Tennant) I checked the Art Desk review and there is anything about what she claims.Not a single word


I read many TSG glowing reviews
'David Tennant shines bright and believable as the flawed father of a daughter with a disability' Radio Times https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2018-10-16/there-she-goes-bbc-review-david-tennant-father-of-child-with-disability/

"Tennant’s Simon is a twitchy knot of anger, denial, despair and defensive humour." The Telegraph https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2018/10/16/goes-episode-1-review-sucker-punching-sitcom-nails-experience/

"Handled differently, this could have become an entirely different story, devoid of any humour or joy. But Pye, through his writing and direction, paired with outstanding performances from both Tennant and Hynes, yanks you back from the edge at just the right moment, stopping the audience from hurtling into complete and utter despair – because if you don't laugh, you'll cry, and never stop." adding "it is not to be missed" Digital Spy http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/feature/a868563/there-she-goes-david-tennant/

"A mere formality, this, but of course Tennant and Hynes are every bit as sensitive and engaging as you’d expect in this, and work exceptionally well together. Tennant in particular is a “big” actor because of his celebrity, style and of course, sheer ability. Somehow, though, he manages to sort of downsize himself to fit into this very domestic story, and not to dominate every scene. This helps us believe that, as his character remarks, he really can be beaten up by a nine-year-old girl “with talons”. His sometimes callous lines about his daughter are uttered with a sense that he means them, but wishes that he didn’t. That’s how he helps make the script work so well." The Independent https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/there-she-goes-review-tv-comedy-david-tennant-jessica-hynes-learning-disability-a8586441.html

"The two leads—Hynes and Tennant—are excellently cast. Their comic instincts make Emily and Simon witty and funny to be around, while their dramatic instincts betray human weakness and strength with every line." Den Of Geek http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/tv/comedy/61150/there-she-goes-unsentimental-honest-well-written-comedy-drama

'a marvel from start to finish' The Times https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/times2/tv-review-informer-there-she-goes-c0z966nh3

Then this review. Two is a coincedence, three is a proof, if the reviewer has a personal dislike about an actor, the review comes spoiled and can't be trusted. Also the use of the mere surname while for the other actors we have full name and surname. I noticed always the same rants for Broadchurch, The Escape Artist, Gracepoint. A real let down.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there were parts that did make me smile, even as I was wincing in sympathy. Perhaps I'm swimming against the tide here, but I didn't think David Tennant was mis-cast. I remember that when my severely mentally and physically disabled godson was born forty years ago his mother fought tooth and nail to get him the atttention and care he needed; his father was barely able to look at him, and was always 'too busy' to attend medical appointments. Simon's reaction - the impatience, the black humour concealing his fear - in 'There She Goes' looks and sounds very plausible to me. And Jessica Hynes is superb. I'll certainly be watching the rest.

Anonymous said...

Just watched 5 minutes of this drama. As a mum of 2 high functionning autistic boys it was searingly realistic, and who's youngest spent yesterday (1st day of half term so change of routine) screaming at me and hitting me. The teeth brushing scene definitely been through that and trying to get them out of the bath. To be honest I found 5 minutes enough but not because it was bad just because it was too real. Well done BBC hopefully people will watch this and realise the meltdowns they see in supermarkets aren't simply badly behaved kids with rubbish parents but there is often alot more going on.

Anonymous said...

I love this. I can't say I laugh as I sit sobbing for 90% of it so for someone who is living this it's not funny although minus the walking my daughter is pretty much identical to lil Rosie at 9 n in nappies 24/7 we can laugh at certain things as quite often if we didn't we'd cry. But I love this so much as I have never heard another parent say those things that I have so many times to my husband. It made me feel it's ok to feel like this. And because you have to just keep going everyone thinks it's ok it's fair from it . It's real and I applaud them. I agree it's not a comedy but so many things a frowned upon regarding disability and 99% of programmes sugar coat and say they wouldn't change a thing. I would seeing a child suffer every day is no fun

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