17 May 2009 | paul2001sw-1
Dark and wry, with an acute sense of place
As a former resident of (the grottier end of) Edinburgh's New Town, I can testify that it's a city district much like any other. For sure, there's the striking Georgian architecture, and a lot of money, particularly in the streets up the top of the hill, but circa 1992, living in the lower reaches didn't feel so very different to living anywhere else: a poky room in Cumberland Street didn't make me feel like a rich man. Annie Griffin's delightful 'New Town', the pilot of a series that never materialised, of course has fun with a rather different notion of the place, full of social climbers and the lairdy class - which is probably no less accurate a vision, even if the truth is a tad less homogeneous. But Griffin's wry script couples acerbic wit, formidable Scottish characterisations (Edinburgh clichés, but bang on the nail) and a very particular sense of place (even my obscure former road was name-checked; and the script pays close attention to the realities of geography, both human and physical, as it guides you around the city's grandest district). In some ways, this does feel like a pilot: you don't yet know the characters well enough to be belly-laughing, and although the start is promising, it's hard to say whether they would have proved to have sufficient depth to sustain an entire series. But if they did decide belatedly to make it, I'd watch.