20 May 2011 | CountZero313
death and sex
A single father discovers his deceased spouse was keeping secrets. I quickly got hooked by this - David Tenant is sublime, very quickly making you forget he was ever Doctor Who (though I could have done without the Black Hole pun), and embodying the grief and irrationality that comes with bereavement.
The drama is strongest when it focuses on those themes, but dilutes slightly when it veers towards foregrounding plot mechanics. The introduction of Stuart and the revelation of his meetings over the years with Rita certainly adds intrigue, and new challenges for Dave, but the reasons why Rita kept Stuart involved are never answered or explored, reducing this moment to mere contrivance. Other threads are left dangling - why does Lucy talk only about her English teacher? What is at the root of Ewan harming himself (and will anyone notice his actions)? The ending also pushes the boundaries of plausibility. At the climax, when I felt my main concern was supposed to be the happiness of Dave and Sarah, I was instead wondering how all these children would react to the news that there is to be a new sibling a mere three months after the death of their mother. The drama was made for Sunday night primetime so perhaps that audience would be more tolerant of this than someone like me, watching it all in one sitting on DVD. Still, after all that had gone before, the ending felt like a letdown.
On a side note, as a Glaswegian it is refreshing to see some of the more attractive neighbourhoods get an outing.
My own preference would have been to see more shades of darkness explored here. Can all that Dave claims to have had with Rita be true, if he so quickly and irreversibly commits to Sarah? On the whole this is a rewarding drama with high-calibre acting that keeps you hooked and entertained throughout.