Get A New Life, BBC2

by | Feb 8, 2003 | All

The Davies clan from South Wales seem to have good reason to move to the hot environs of southern Spain. Brian Davies, 46, had spent 24 years working as a school caretaker and was in need of a change, while his 43-year-old wife Alison suffered from depression and her doctor had assured her that a sunny climate would help her condition.

The couple also wished to make a better life for their two young children. And as the camera panned across their insalubrious council estate, which would usually only be featured on television in the aftermath of an urban riot where burned-out cars litter the streets, you could appreciate their desire for something better.

Fortunately, the BBC has devised a show just for their type. Scott Huggins and Melissa Porter were assigned to find the Davies’s a property in Spain and help set them up with jobs. The BBC pays for them for the first month whereupon they must decide whether or not to stay in their new life or trudge home. In return, the BBC gets to film excruciatingly artificial conversations.

Melissa was filmed accepting a call from a Spanish contact that natives are reluctant to employ workers from northern Europe as they wilt in the heat. Scott added his tarnished wisdom to the situation by saying: “These guys are Welsh, they’re made of true Welsh grit.” It was difficult to work out what was more incredible – that this man, so full of clichés they spill out of the pores of his very skin, was in charge of finding a family a house, or that the rest of his comments were so banal this one had to be included.

Once installed in Spain, with Melissa’s help, the flesh really began to fall from the bones of the show like a corpse rotting in a grave. On many occasions, Brian seemed to be set up for work as a builder, tomato picker or removal man. Each meeting seemed to go well and we waited for the scene that would see Brian hard at work. This never happened, except on one occasion when he did a day’s work for ex-pat Simon as a removal man – but despite “really hitting it off” nothing more came of it.

Alison, meanwhile, felt well enough to update her CV to get a job as a typist (despite not speaking the language), but again it proved a dead end as far as the show was concerned.

Remarkably the Davies’ agreed to stay in Spain at the end of the month, even though Brian hadn’t secured employment, they couldn’t speak Spanish and they hadn’t sold their home in Wales. A short clip showed them a month further down the line with Brian still looking for work and no mention made of the unsold house, but they still expressed their delight, perhaps a little too fervently, at how much they were enjoying their new lives. A delight denied anyone who was unlucky enough to sit through this.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

08/02/2003

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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