Strictly Confidential, ITV1

by | Nov 26, 2006 | All, Reviews

Thursday 16 November 2007

Did we like it?

Hmmm, the jury is still out on this Kay Mellor-scripted series which focuses on the patients and staff of a Leeds-based sex therapy clinic. The principal characters are Linda (Suranne Jones) a former police officer, now a therapist desperate for a child with her infertile husband Richard. (Christian Salimeno). Plus there’s Richard’s brother Greg (Tristan Gemmill) who is also Linda’s partner in the clinic (and, crucially, ex-boyfriend)

This first episode started badly by cramming far too much information and too many characters into the opening 15 minutes. It would have been a struggle to follow it even if you’d been given a checklist beforehand. Thankfully, things settled down and some good plotlines developed.

What was good about it?

• Suranne Jones was good as the female lead. It’s refreshing to see ITV casting someone who you wouldn’t describe as out and out gorgeous in such a key role.

• There were also some gems in the support cast, including Eva Pope as the lesbian cop who enlists Linda to help with sex crimes, Stacey Roca from The Office as Claudine, a sex addict, and Kate Isitt from Coupling as Greg’s wife.

• After meeting in the clinic’s waiting room, Claudine strikes up a relationship with Tony, who suffers from retarded ejaculation. After a marathon sex session, we cut to Tony delivering a crate of champagne to Greg with the message, “I’m cured!”

• The second plotline focused on a newly married young couple and her problems with vaginisimus – which was not entirely unrelated to her interfering mother ringing her every five minutes and even bursting in to their house because they’d left the phone off the hook so she couldn’t interfere with their lovemaking.

• The plotline about Greg becoming a sperm donor for Linda and Richard sets things up nicely for the rest of the series.

• The raunchy bondage scenes between Claudine and Tony left us feeling pretty hot under the collar. That whirring sound you can hear is Mary Whitehouse spinning in her grave…

What was bad about it?

• The frantic opening quarter which almost made us switch off.

• Is it a comedy? A drama? A thriller? We’re still not sure, and it needs to make up its mind or risk not satisfying anyone.

• Leeds Tourist Board must be co-sponsors judging by the numerous establishing shots between the scenes. This is obviously a developing trend, witness Torchwood making Cardiff look like Las Vegas.

• The gorgeous Kate Isitt was only in it for about two minutes. Hopefully her character will get more screen time later on in the series

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

26/11/2006

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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