What to say of you liked it
A welcome return for the heartrending drama in which the members of a northern slimmers’ club battle against domestic turmoil and their ever burgeoning waistlines.
What to say of you didn’t like it
A meandering herd of flabby characters wandering the desolate TV plains desperately searching for an oasis of dramatic conflict and then, upon finding one, guzzling it dry in a matter of melodramatic moments.
What was good about it?
• A splendid cast most notably Alison Steadman as the confused Betty who is torn between the enthralling novelty of Simon her long lost son, and the consequent
neglect felt by her jealous daughter Kelly. Lisa Riley gives a fine understated performance as Rebecca; and Lynda Baron is great as the outrageous Norma
• The script was cleverly paced so the universal joy of the Spanish holiday Betty’s clan went on was soon tempered by the problems caused through her increasing closeness to Simon, who had troubles of his own from his envious wife and adoptive mother.
• Kelly’s husband Kevin and his Neanderthal attitude towards modern life that resulted in the pair being thrown out of their own home when they returned from holiday.
What was bad about it?
• The jealousy surrounding Betty and Simon’s relationship was rather overdone. We can understand Kelly feeling put out and then reacting angrily, as that’s in her make-up, and also Simon’s neurotic adoptive mother scorning Betty’s offers of help; but matters became overstretched when Simon’s wife also became sullen.
• Slimming club commandant “Stick Insect” (Janet Dibley) has rather been superseded as a grotesque caricature by Marjorie Dawes and all of her efforts to be nasty towards the slimmers seemed rather old hat.
• Characterising Kevin and Kelly through their obsessive viewing of Trisha was rather simplistic.
• As in another of Kay Mellor’s dramas, Playing The Field, the action has shifted away from the activity, then a women’s football club now a slimming group, to concentrate on one huge extended family at the expense of some of the better characters.