Cleaning Up (2019– )

TV Series   |  Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama

Episode Guide
Cleaning Up (2019) Poster

Struggling mum Sam discovers access to lucrative stock market information while working as an office cleaner at Canary Wharf.


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Mark Marlow

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18 February 2019 | davideo-2
| Has potential, but descends into a load of flimsy, stupid nothingness
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Sam (Sheridan Smith) works as a cleaner in a trading tower, to support her daughters, along with her best mate Jess (Jade Anouka.) However, a crippling online gambling addiction has gotten her into debt, and now she's got loan sharks knocking at her door. One night, she has the novel idea to listen in to the traders, and get some inside information on which shares are going to go up, which allows her to get riches on the side that change her life immeasurably. However, it's all on a collision course to come crashing down.

Social inequality, and the great divide between the 'haves and have nots' in society at present is certainly one of the hot topics, and pretty much the main narrative propelling Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party. Quite rightly so, and this new six part drama from ITV, starring the versatile Sheridan Smith, focuses on this, with it's themes of 'the little guy' getting a slice of the pie over the 'orrible bankers. Sadly, while the premise has potential, the execution is just too nonsensical and requires too much suspension of disbelief to be taken seriously and have any lasting impact.

Smith's talents have certainly been recognized, and she's built up quite a profile and won some prestigious awards, but she simply had a big error of judgement choosing this script to put on her back catalogue. She does the best she can, but it's all just too poorly written, and doesn't have anything close to the sustainability it needs to last the course of six episodes, over six weeks! For some reason, I stuck with it to the end, and the dramatic stakes do lift a little a bit further in, but a satisfying resolution fails to materialise.

It's further compounded by one or two (important) inconsistent characters, who disappear for a few episodes then reappear towards the end, and a peculiar obsession with shoving ITV's diversity agenda down our throats, with everyone seemingly in a mixed race partnership, including Smith's friendship with her co worker. There's nothing like a satisfactory beginning, middle and an end, and any significant social commentary on issues like the responsibility of online gaming sites and the great wealth divide is just lost in the mire. Bearable, but only by the most very narrow margin. **

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