If the BBC took advertising, then Clocking Off would be sponsored by the Ford Transit. Like Cold Feet, it is also set in Manchester, but this time recognisably so since everyone talks with a Northern accent, lives in a terrace near the City of Manchester Stadium and works for their living in a grim, red-brick textile factory where this week’s featured character, Suzie (Nicola Stephenson), is a fork-lift truck driver.
“Grim” just about summed up the episode, in which Suzie left her fiancée/workmate Jamie at the altar and suffered grief from everyone around her as a result. Her workmates hated her, her son hated her, and even the bottle of Voddy and two-litre Coke she bought to drown her sorrows were giving her funny looks. She gave a few funny looks back, almost shagged a bloke she picked up in a club, then realised, through the shock of her dad’s heart attack, that she’d made a terrible mistake. Ignoring the cries of “piss off, you slag” from the guests at Jamie’s leaving do, she sneaked in round the back, pleaded with him, and everything was neatly resolved at around the time the final ad break will happen when the show reruns on UK Drama.
Resolved or not, the whole thing was more likely to send you out to buy your own bottle of Voddy than a BMW Mini, but that, of course, is the point – Clocking Off is the anti-Cold Feet, inheritor of the great BBC tradition of warts-and-all kitchen-sink dramas. Life as it really is, or life as it might be if only you had a bigger credit limit and nice furniture – at 9.00pm on Sundays you can now take your pick.