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A complex, moving story of life in the big bad city, in this case London. The tragic, senseless, futile murder of a beautiful young woman, just embarking on her journey through life, acts as a catalyst of change for a large and diverse group of people seemingly unconnected with this terrible event. As the ripples of change expand this group of people come under increasing pressure to face the harsh realities of their existence and turn away from the cosy fantasies they thought they knew. Some discover an inner strength that inspires them to better their lives and look to the future with hope but for others the overwhelming waves of despair and despondency push them ever nearer to the edge of the abyss. Watching it all with a jaundiced eye and a practiced put down, apparently aloof and untouched by events, is Gary Rickey, born Billy Rickey in the town of the same name, a London broad sheet food critic who doesn't seem to like food or it doesn't like him. However, even he cannot escape ... Written by
Mark Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Why the BBC has not yet put this out on video, let alone DVD (there was some great camera work) is beyond my comprehension. It resurfaced the magnificent David Morrissey in my brain as a superb actor and for that alone I am grateful to those who made the series happen. Dubbed "Our Friends in the South" on first appearance, as it followed hard on the heels of that other great BBC series, it soon commanded its own fanbase. I can still see in my mind's eye the scene in the travel agents with Morrissey when his world truly begins to come undone, all moral certainty abandoned in an instant. I crib this from a Guardian review of the time - and thank you to whoever wrote that, I still keep the cutting at home. But nevertheless even before I had read the review of that episode that scene had been haunting me and I had been driving everyone insane that day whittering on about how stunning it was.
The coming together of characters and stories is something that derives from 19th century literature (think Dickins if nothing else) but in the cinema and television drama is rarely done well. "Magnolia" would be the main other example of this kind of connected narrative that comes off.
If you saw it, I expect you will know exactly what I mean by raving about Morrissey. If you did not see it, hassle the BBC to put it out again on video/DVD if not repeated on the channel (and try to tell them that putting it on the damn cable channels as yet cannot constitute a proper repeat).
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