L.S. Media Rating ****

Cast: David Tennant, Joanne Froggatt, Vicky McClure, Lacey Turner, Luke Bryant, Jo Woodcock, Peter McNeil O’ Connor.

It may be the thought of Sky Arts encroaching into old familiar B.B.C. territory with their half hour series of plays that forced the channel to follow suit and commission Dominic Savage to write five stand-alone plays that break the boundaries of television drama production.  Whatever the reason, Dominic Savage came up with the goods in the first of these to be televised over the next few nights and in Joanne Froggatt, David Tennant and Vicky McClure they hit quality drama gold.

The first episode in this partially improvised piece of television centred on the very happily married Nick, portrayed by David Tennant, who the day after celebrating his wife’s 34th birthday receives a phone call from out of the past that threatens to bring down Nick and those that share his world. Dominic Savage’s writing is well observed and with both Mr. Tennant and the incredible Joanne Froggatt, who never seems to put a foot wrong when it comes to television drama, in the role of husband and wife, this was a couple whose bliss was central to the play.

What exactly do you do when the first love of your life comes back into your life, you may have been lucky to have never lost them, you may have been fortunate to stay friends with them for most of your life, in some cases, like Nick, they went away and never returned until it seems that destiny was to play a big part in ruining any happiness you had built up. The big question that seemed to be asked quietly was; not what that person would do, would they give up everything they have to have that one moment, that one person back in their lives again, but what does the other partner do?

In this case there will be those that say Joanne Froggat’s representation of the wronged wife was clichéd, she didn’t assert her female role and go ‘berserk’ at her errant husband and she blindly and meekly fretted at home and in the end she even shared the same bed as her husband. Sometimes life is much more difficult to comprehend, what the viewer may take as weakness is actually strength to understand someone’s real weakness, their fragile state of mind, their odd behaviour or even the moment of sheer overwhelming desire to recapture what was once feared lost forever. In this Joanne Froggatt deserves recognition for playing such a very positive and commanding role.

Nick was overwhelming, well written and tremendously well observed, so well in fact that it hits very deep into almost everyone who watched the programme and the thoughts of their past. Life that imitates art!

Ian D. Hall