What’s it all about?
Drama set in and around a family-run ceramics business, Blue Dove, that runs into trouble after chairman Jim Weston dies from a heart attack, leaving the company in the hands of his two children, Nick (Paul Nicholls) and Clare (Esther Hall) and Jim’s
secret lover Jenny (Ruth Gemmell), who was also Nick’s production supervisor at the factory.
What to say if you like it
A well-acted drama that created plenty of scope for conflict in the first episode between virtually all the cast.
What to say if you didn’t like it
A typically atrocious ITV effort that mixes elements of Where The Heart Is with Coronation Street but the noxious mix leaves behind the stench of another Peak Practice.
What was good about it?
• A good cast including Paul Nicholls and Esther Hall although we found it hard to swallow that they are 27-year-old twins.
• Paul Nicholls is especially good as Nick in a central role which eschews many of the benevolent common traits of a dramatic protagonist and replaces them with an attitude that is insensitive, calculating and impulsive. His only displays of great emotion are after his dad announces his move to Spain and after his subsequent heart attack. On both occasions, Nick violently searches out a scapegoat in the forms of Jenny and slimy finance director Graham respectively.
• The number of conflicts that built throughout the first episode should be enough fuel to last the series. They included Nick v Jenny, who now owns one third of Blue Dove after Jim changed his will; Nick v Graham, whom Nick holds partly responsible for his dad’s death; Graham v Gerry, Nick’s uncle and the black sheep of the family who was in the car when Nick’s mother was killed; Nick v Ian, Clare’s husband and Blue Dove’s salesman, who feels marginalised when Nick goes to Amsterdam alone to renegotiate a business contract; and Nick v Nick, who feels guilt after he brought Gerry in to work for Blue Dove, news that caused his dad’s heart attack when Graham told him.
What was bad about it?
• Too many dramatic clichés to create artificial scenes of high emotion – of the three staples of births, marriages and deaths, we were treated to the nuptials of Clare and Ian and Jim’s untimely fatal heart attack.
• Many of the factory employees were drawn with little individual care and attention and became ciphers who yearn simply for weekends, pay packets and weddings to
get them through the crushing drudgery of their lives.
• Too much of the necessary first episode biographical exposition was clumsy and synthetic, such as when Nick called Clare “sis”; Jim said to his kids: “You’re 27,
for God’s sake”; and when Jim referred to Ian as “my future son-in-law”.
• Clare seemed to wear the same pair of tight trousers throughout the whole episode, even under her wedding dress, as if they had been welded on to her legs.
• The tone at the start was far too happy and joyous during Clare’s her wedding and we were just waiting for the inevitable, precipitous descent into misery and woe. The way into which distress was inserted through ominous music at the wedding when Graham observed an important business contact in conversation with Blue Dove’s rivals was inadvertently hilarious.