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After painter Michael 'Mike' Sheldrake's failed suicide attempt, house-mate and life-long best friend Peter Tremaine, an antiques shop owner, reminisces their common past, like Mike does in therapy. It started at the beach, when scrubby, scared Mikey become the dependent protégé of forceful Pete, both doted by Pete's dad, a wealthy lawyer. Afterwards Mike moves out to marry Kate. Pete accepts to be best man, but overdoes that, 'arranging' to get stuck in the honeymoon hotel he paid for. Drama from their boarding school childhood intertwines with tragedy for the mates, Kate and vindictive former police detective Miller. Written by
This is in my opinion the best original TV drama that ITV has had to offer in a very long time.
The choice of some new (to ITV) faces was also a good choice. Richard Coyle, best know as Jeff in Coupling, played a very convincing Mike, a man haunted by his past and part of a complicated friendship with Pete, played by Toby Stephens, who plays an incredibly good, dominant, calculating and seemingly evil side of the pair. Add Keeley Hawes as the love interest and you have a very competent cast.
The story is very involved and has you guessing and second-guessing the whole way through. The clever use of flash-backs to slowly reveal the past between Pete & Mike paints the picture in your head but does not prepare you for any twists and turns in the plot and pleasingly the ending is not totally predictable. There are parallels in the story and bits that remind you of other things you have seen, but on the whole it is original.
I was drawn to watch The Best Man because of who i starred and it was very interesting to see Coyle and Stephens in more realistic roles than they would usually play. But I have to commend ITV and the production on this occasion for making a TV drama which didn't star Robson Greene or Julie Walters!! (No offence to them - there just seems to be an oligopoly of Brit actors who hold ITV TV dramas to ransom and i am glad that ITV have fought them!
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