This week, I’m clearing all thoughts of Series 1 out of my mind and giving full attention to our new set of characters. We focus on Tom (Jimi Mistry) and his partner Carly and their attempts to adopt following 3 failed IVF attempts. I can’t help but notice that Kay Mellor has made a leap between characters who work in a hospital having ailments that the lottery win might help. This isn’t Casualty, Kay.
In a flashback to 4 and a half months previous, we discover that Tom’s father left him and his mother when Tom was 10. Tom was briefly hospitalised in a psychiatric ward which, alongside his debts and the fact that neither potential parent can afford to give up work, is putting chances of adopting in jeopardy. Tom also needs to find his father to discover if he has any hereditary illnesses. The money comes just in time to hire an ex copper who tracks the absentee daddy down in record time.
It turns out that Tom’s father had a secret family all along which he returned to, and that Tom’s mother, a depressive long streak of misery, knew all about it. Given the effort taken with this backstory I doubt this is the last we’ll see of this family. Despite my reservations about the storyline, I have to admit this was some very impressive acting from Mistry and there may well have been something in my eye when watching the scenes.
Sadly, the rest of this plot was rather trite, with jealous friends, the purchase of a ridiculous car and the baby issue possibly being solved by a magically late period. What I thought would be a delicately handled exploration of how money can’t buy you happiness appears to have been dispersed in frothy soap opera bubbles. Ah well, at least we had more Becky (the wonderful Natalie Gavin) to warm our hearts. Our plucky trainee nurse found time for a little bit of romance with cute Luke. If he doesn’t turn out to be genuinely lovely I shall track Mellor down and have strong words.
Especially if Mellor has gone down the melodramatic route of having Mandy kill her husband (Becky’s father). He has mysteriously disappeared, but Mandy’s still stealing drugs so presumably he’s breathing somewhere. Stashed in the attic filled with sleeping pills perhaps? Mind you, evil Ellen the ex syndicate member is suspicious of drugs going missing so will Mandy be caught before then? At least we found out why Ellen left the syndicate, which was the only bright spot in an overlong and exposition heavy flashback. She didn’t buy a ticket a few months previous because she didn’t have the money in her account and she was fed up and then 4 numbers came up. Ouch. Her excuses were feeble, they’d given her the cash so she could have gone to the hospital shop and bought the ticket. I’m fully backing their decision not to give her a bean.
Next week Rose, who isn’t married to Alan, I got that completely wrong, is up in court for benefit fraud. I presume we’ll also get further clues as to the whereabouts of Mandy’s missing husband, and discover whether Alan is back on the booze or just stoned. My moral compass is having difficulty with the fact that all the characters are horrified by his alcoholism but fine with drug taking. I’m hoping his story will explore this. I confess I’m not absolutely gripped by this programme, but it’s not the worst thing on TV.
Contributed by Victoria Prior