Danny Kavanagh leaves Liverpool for the Lake District, finding work at a hotel and love with a local girl named Emma. Yet Danny remains an outsider in the close-knit community, and through ...
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Danny Kavanagh leaves Liverpool for the Lake District, finding work at a hotel and love with a local girl named Emma. Yet Danny remains an outsider in the close-knit community, and through the machinations of fate, he finds himself implicated in a tragedy. As the series goes on, the secrets, lies, and crimes, of the seemingly tranquil community continue to be revealed. Written by
I've just watched this again and the misgivings I had when I first saw it have dispelled somewhat. Following on the heels of, and attempting to continue, the first self-contained (if open-ended) saga of Danny and the residents of the small Lake District town he finds himself in might seem foolhardy and unnecessary, but the finished result proves these assumptions wrong.
True, "The Lakes 2" (as it is called on video) does stray into soap opera territory at times; some changes in certain characters behaviour does require a seismic suspension of disbelief; and some plotlines almost fall into self-parody. But, as with the first series, what pulls you into this drama and keeps your attention throughout is the incredible combination of superior acting, writing and directing.
Danny, the hero of Part One, takes more of a back seat here as the action focusses on the Hitchcockian story of the teacher who murders his philandering wife; the devout Catholic mother who sleeps with her priest; the bitch of a rich girl who gets more than she bargains for at the hands of three local rapists; and, best of all, there's Chef who, despite being run over repeatedly at the end of the last instalment, proves that he is still as nasty as ever, polluting the lives of all around him, especially his long-suffering but sluttish wife.
The Chef storyline actually provides a brilliant backdrop to the foreground drama of rape and infidelity, simply because the character is such a great creation: an immoral bull of a man who uses sex as a weapon, hates everyone around him, and who is motivated by an unrelenting vengeful streak against the (obvious) culprit who ran him down. Charles Dale plays Chef perfectly, making him one of television's most memorable and despicable characters who gets his delicious comeuppance courtesy of two very strong women and a rusty straight razor! Compare Dale's performance here with his Mr Nice Guy character in "Coronation Street" and you'll see just how good this actor is.
That's not to take anything away from the rest of the cast: they are all fine, and Bob Mason's world-weary police sergeant deserves a special mention. The team of writers and directors (including original scribe Jimmy McGovern) manage to create a seamless whole, and this is well worth watching and rewatching.
Is it as good as the original? Not quite, but if you take this as written before you sit down to watch, there are just as many enjoyable and striking things on offer here.
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