Did we like it?
Shed Productions in not-very-shocking drama shocker. Where was the tackiness of Footballers’ Wives? The evil villainy of Bad Girls? The grabbed-from-the-tabloids storylines of Waterloo Road? This take on the talent show treadmill was as tame as a Leona Lewis album track – and it had better start pushing the boundaries next week if we’re to carry on viewing.
What was good about it?
• Michelle Collins as Karina Faith, especially when she had curly hair (pity it disappeared in the second half) and even more especially when she vindictively drove unfaithful husband Mal’s Ferrari into the swimming pool.
• Alison Newman (the legendary Hazel in Footballers’ Wives) stole the show as pushy mum Lynette, bullying daughter Bethany, screeching like a fisherwoman when a judge calls her offspring “a lump” and wielding an axe as if it was hardly ever out of her hands.
• Although Rock Rivals was never clever enough to be a satire of TV talent shows, we did like the vacuous boy band (H from Steps, two guys who were cheekbones on legs and the stroppy talented one),
• The character who is supposed to be the Louis Walsh of the judging panel has no character whatsoever – a remarkably accurate simulation.
What was bad about it?
• We’ve spent many Saturday nights amazed and horrified by Darius, McManus, Eton Road etc, and there’s no doubt the real thing is much more dramatic than this series will ever be. Surely drama should be larger than life, not an insipid imitation.
• The main storyline – the Karina-Mal bust-up – was hardly riveting even though it raced from infidelity to divorce papers within hours. And the sub-plots were pretty tedious: frumpy Bethany self-harming on ITV2 and overdosing on nail varnish remover in her bedroom; twinkly-eyed Luke falling for quite-nice Dana; mad Luke fan Felix sitting at home eating baked beans with an effigy of his hero beside him. Only the stalker plot has any legs, if one can stand to see mental illness turned into ratings-grabbing fare.
• Sean Gallagher, who so nearly became Frank in Shameless, looked uncomfortable in such trashy waters, which wasn’t a surprise because he’s too talented to earn a living as a Simon Cowell impersonator.
• The censorship of nipples. Does that mean we’re not going to have any titillation to distract us from the boredom?
• The stupid character names eg Ocean Faith, Sundae Gorgeous, Angel Islington and Jinx (the minx) Jones.
• The green eye shadow Dana was wearing while frolicking with Luke.