THAT WAS THE BOX – May 2015 (Week One) | TV Reviews
In a week where we introduced to Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, and got lumbered with old Dish Face and his cronies for another five years, we have also been reduced to tears by an absolute blub-fest.
‘THE C WORD‘ (BBC1 – BBC IPLAYER)
Sunday saw a drama based on the life of Lisa Lynch, a young woman who died from cancer, aged just thirty-three. Her blog Aright Tit became a best-selling book, and was set for dramatization before she died from secondary cancer in 2013, and she personally asked Sheridan Smith to play her. Let’s face it, Sheridan is the go-to girl when it comes to playing real people, and ‘The C Word‘ just proved what a fantastic actress she is. Playing Lisa from carefree newly wed, through the horrors of chemotherapy to the end where she is peacefully accepting her fate.
I’m sure Sheridan will win many awards for the role, so I thought I would give Paul Nicholls some props for his role as Lisa’s husband Pete. Paul is usually cast as eye candy, and it was good to see him play an ordinary many who was thrust into extraordinary circumstances, watching the woman he loved go on a terrible journey where he could only be a passenger. Pete was a man of few words, but his actions said a lot. One of the most poignant moments was when Lisa was too weak to get out of the bath and Pete carries her out, laying her upon the bed. He saw the other side of Lisa. Not the ballsy girl who called cancer The Bullshit and wrote a frank and funny account of living with the disease. Pete saw the frightened girl who was at first heartbroken at the knowledge of not being able to have children, to the horror of knowing she was going to die.
I liked that the film didn’t end with a deathbed scene, instead it was just Pete and Lisa together. Lisa’s death doesn’t define her. It was the bravery she showed in the face of such diversity, and the inspiration she gave to millions of women in the same position. I’m sure wherever she was, she was pleased at the dramatisation of her short but amazing life.
‘THE STRANGER ON THE BRIDGE‘ (CHANNEL 4 – 4OD)
‘The Stranger on the Bridge‘ is a factual account of how a young man called Jonny Benjamin tried to track down the man who stopped him jumping off Waterloo Bridge in January 2008. Although on the surface Jonny seems handsome and articulate, he is also schizophrenic, and when he was hospitalized in 2008, he ran away and decided to kill himself by jumping in the Thames. It was only the words of a complete stranger that made him change his mind and realise that life was worth living.
As could be expected, when Jonny became a media celebrity, due to his social media campaign, which then was picked up by the mainstream press, several people came forward claiming to be the stranger, who Jonny had called ‘Mike’. Some were chancers looking for their fifteen minutes of fame, but others were genuine people who had helped others to stop from ending their lives. For me, one of the most moving moments was when Jonny was on Waterloo Bridge, handing out leaflets, and was met with a stream of supporters. The sort of people who would normally walk across the bridge in silence, keeping up that British reserve and not talking to people about their problems, were opening up to Jonny and congratulating him on his campaign, wishing him well and telling him about people they had lost to suicide.
It turned out, Jonny’s hero was a very humble young man called Neil, who really didn’t see the enormity in what he had done, and when the two men finally met (yes, I cried), it was initially awkward, but soon they bonded and it was obvious they would remain friends. It was sad that Jonny has since had episodes where he has felt suicidal, but I would like to think that it was Neil’s words that helped prevent him from following it through.
If the message behind ‘The C Word‘ was that some people were born stronger than others, the message behind ‘The Stranger on the Bridge‘ was that a little humanity goes a long way, and most people, if they are tested, have good in them. It’s just a shame that it takes extreme circumstances for people to find their inner ‘Mike’.
‘MURDER IN SUCCESSVILLE‘ (BBC3 – BBC IPLAYER)
Light relief came from this zany new comedy from BBC3. A celebrity takes part in a murder mystery populated by comedians playing characters with the names of already famous people. In this first episode, Jamie Laing from ‘Made In Chelsea‘, had to help DI Sleet (played by Tom Davis – who I always get confused with Ewan McIntosh) find out who murdered restaurateur Bruno Tonioli, was it his ex-wife Darcy Bussell, the notorious Carr brothers – Jimmy and Alan, or the One Direction boys, headed by Harry Styles and Niall Horan?
Most of the laughs came from watching Laing try to keep a straight face, which would then prompt the actors to start giggling. If you enjoy surreal humour then it would be right up your street and if you’re like me and enjoy people having stupid names like Martin Eaglecock, then you’ll love ‘Murder in Successville‘. I don’t know who the celebrity taking part is, next week, but I will be watching it, after all this crying, I need a laugh.
‘THE GAME‘ (BBC2 – BBC IPLAYER)
This week in our new favourite 1970s espionage drama, there was much pouting in parks and folded newspapers and assignations in gents toilets, as our handsome hero Joe (the offspring of Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch playing Richard Ashcroft from The Verve) tries to get to the bottom of Operation Glass, while hunting down Odin (an unfortunate name because I keep hearing Ron Burgundy saying ‘Great Odin’s Raven’) who was responsible for the death of his lady love.
This week they were focusing on a rogue British agent called Tom Mallory who specialized in beating up women and being vile, who was of course double-crossing the British, when they thought he was on the turn. Speaking of on the turn, Daddy warned ‘confirmed bachelor’ Bobby that he was putting himself in a vulnerable position by not having a woman in his life, so he decided to set his cap at wimpy Wendy (who I still don’t trust) and wooed her by putting his hand on her knee, squeezing it, then jumping on the poor girl. It was a moment of hilarity in a very taught episode. ‘The Game‘ still feels clichéd in parts and I still find Tom Hughes hard to accept as someone from the 1970s. However, I think there is great potential and I’m enjoying following it.