5 May 2003 | Philby-3
Fatherhood is sometimes foisted on us
A well-observed comedy-drama of a man's sudden discovery of the joys and pains of fatherhood which makes good Sunday night viewing. Harry Silver's comfortable life as a TV producer of low-grade personality chat shows is disturbed when after a one-night stand with an assistant, his wife Gina, having zero tolerance for infidelity, leaves him for a job in Japan, and he has to act as sole nurturer to Pat, his winsome five-year-old son.
Ioan Gryffud is indeed in a different element here, but he provides Harry with the sense of increasing desperation required. He is well supported especially by 7 year old Dominic Howell as Pat. Natasha Little, a specialist at such roles, is excellent as the attractive but self-obsessed Gina and Elizabeth Mitchell (who really is from Dallas, Texas) is a nice contrast as the equally good looking but much nicer American woman Harry eventually falls for.
There is also some fine support from Jack Sheppard as Harry's crusty but concerned father and Pauline Collins as his mother. Ian McNiesh as Harry's lawyer also puts in a spirited performance – I can see him as the next Rumpole. Ian McShane was also enjoyable as Harry's mendacious chat show host.
Although Harry's lifestyle might be fatuous, his relationship with his son becomes the real thing and we feel for Harry when it is threatened. This is made easier for us because Gina is so unsympathetic – you get the impression she felt trapped by the marriage (while pretending to be happy) and was looking for an excuse to end it, grab the kid and leave. The scriptwriters go for a soft ending and in the end Harry, despite refusing to put up a fight, gets all that he wants.
Pleasant Sunday night entertainment – a bit like Hornblower really.