26 September 2012 4:00 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Joe is ambitious, chippy and sexually frustrated – but not for long, in BBC4's latest period drama

"I came to Warley on a wet September morning with the sky the grey of Guiseley sandstone." That's the first line of John Braine's classic 1959 novel Room at the Top and, coincidentally, exactly as much of the book as I have read.

I too first came to Warley on a wet September morning with the sky the grey of Guiseley sandstone, watching the new BBC4 adaption alone in my office. The northern town where Joe Lampton has come to seek his fortune is provincial, claustrophobic and really quite appealing. It's not grey and gritty as you'd expect; most scenes are washed in watery sunlight. The colours are muted but gorgeous, and while the people of Warley are all pale as alabaster, they look more elegant than ill. Plus, you can smoke wherever you want, »

- Tim Dowling

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