Did we like it?
A throbbing, dripping ball of testosterone that could alter the sex of fish if dumped unscrupulously in rivers that is saved from being Bruce Willis incarnate by some great acting and some ‘traditional*’ plotlines.
* ‘Traditional’ means predictable but reassuring and familiar.
What was good about it?
• Neil Dudgeon as the luckless Harry whose life is contorted beyond all recognition when he saves the life of attractive divorcee Roisin. Tempted by her, and turned off by the sterility of his own marriage, he dips his toe nervously in the waters of an extra-marital affair. But then his wife is severely injured in a car crash and he learns she was having an affair. All of this heartache is perfect for Dudgeon’s lugubrious features which always seem to be straining under the stresses of imminent tragedy.
• And such features perfectly conveyed the paroxysm of excitement Harry felt in his dull life when he first rescued Roisin; something he wanted to replicate by having an affair with her, or at least the notion of having an affair by taking her out to dinner. All of which was assisted by workmate Radge ribbing him about “poking the same hole for 20 years” and Roisin explaining she split from her husband as they had been together since they were 17.
• And Dudgeon is supported by a strong cast. Just as you can predict that the carcass of a zebra will soon be scavenged by vultures, it’s as equally expected that any northern drama will have Dean Lennox Kelly leering from it; not that we’re complaining, he’s a great actor, but he is becoming to this genre what Shane Lynch or MC Harvey is to reality TV.
• And Will Mellor as Barmpot must be as much of an inspiration to current Hollyoaks actors as Jesus Christ is to Christians all over the globe as he has resurrected his career from the steaming, diabolical pits of reality TV / cheap panel game shows to become an established thespian.
• Radge, who cut the cord to the rival group of postmen’s stereo when trite 80s hit Gold by Spandau Ballet was playing.
What was bad about it?
• The CETI programme seeks to detect alien life by picking up stray radio signals and the like. If any alien species is carrying out similar programmes and pick up the broadcast of Sorted they may well believe that Earth is populated by a single gender – men. The women were just chalked outlines of murder victims, acting as dumb catalysts for the dramatic tension between the men. Harry’s wife, Kath, was dumped in the hospital near to death which could be retrospectively be viewed as divine punishment for her infidelity. The unfaithful men, meanwhile, sorted out their problems with fights.
• After an argument with Kathy, Harry retreated to his garage. If men still do this today then ignore the criticism, but didn’t men abandon the garage as their last sanctuary sometime in the early-70s?
• The intrusive music that trampled all over the more intimate moments such as when Harry was helping the distressed Roisin or when Harry is rifling through Kathy’s belongings for proof that she is having an affair.