It’s always exciting to see Sarah Lancashire back on TV. I’ve been a big fan for a little while, since Happy Valley really, and drama lovers will agree that she’s a big draw for a new series. Writer Jack Thorne has another ripped-from-the-headlines story for us and hopes are high as he wrote National Treasure broadcast in 2016 which won the best mini-series BAFTA. That was about historic cases of sexual abuse, drawing on various high-profile scandals involving celebrities. This is about vulnerable children under the care of social services and calls to mind some recent real-life cases.
Sarah Lancashire plays Miriam Grayson, a Bristolian social worker who decides to offer unsupervised visits between 9-year-old Kiri and her grandparents. Kiri is a young black girl about to be adopted by a middle-class white family and social services agree she ought to know “where she came from”, and have a chance to develop links with appropriate members of her birth family. While Kiri is on her visit, she goes missing, apparently abducted by her ex-con birth father Nathaniel. This is all made clear in the first 30 minutes, so knowing the laws of TV drama, this means literally anything could have happened to her.
Lesser known states in America have the negative nickname ‘fly-over states’ – the places that you only see from a plane window. Essentially, not much to see and not worth stopping by. Americanophile Billy Connolly wants us to know them better as he travels around the edge of the USA. Chicago to New York, the (very) long way around. 6,000 miles by train taking in 26 states. An epic trip but ITV have packed it all into just three episodes. The mood is quite a laid-back travel documentary but it must have been planned and edited to within an inch of its life. (Los Angeles appears on the route map but isn’t actually visited, which seems a shame.)
I read a quote today that went something like, ‘Is George RR Martin writing the script for 2016?’ Too many people who enrich our lives have been lost this year, most far too soon. But that all goes without saying.
I always felt that Victoria Wood was a champion for those of us who were painfully shy in our youth. But she overcame it; big time. How could she not with her absolute genius talent bursting inside of her. Was there nothing this woman couldn’t do? She was a musician (self-taught), songwriter, comedian, dramatic writer and actor. And yet it was all so self-effacing. Quietly producing work that was quite frankly, genius.
Being an avid telly watcher myself I remember her from As Seen On TV . There’s a great quote from that: “I said to my friend – and she watches telly from Wincey Willis through to Gardener’s World into the Open University” (those were the days) “Do you think TV is killing the art of conversation?”
She said, “Errrrmmmm….”