As we finally are being drug kicking and screaming from the UK and 10 days of amazing telly, Tellyspotting takes one final look back at the hits of this years BBC Showcase in Liverpool. If our daytime screenings weren’t enough, at night it was brilliant to be able to watch great telly live such as Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeover, Heading Out, the next-to-last ever episode of Being Human, the premiere of Broadchurch with David Tennant and, admittedly, a somewhat bizarre episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
Chris O’Dowd’s Moone Boy
From a Showcase standpoint, one of the early leaders in the comedy clubhouse to potentially appear on public television in 2014 is Moone Boy, written by and starring Chris O’Dowd (IT Crowd).
The Irish comedy, which was commissioned for a second series before series one had even premiered, tells the story of the relationship between Seán (O’Dowd) and 12-year-old Martin Moone (David Rawle), the youngest child of a family living in a small town in the rural Ireland. Martin, aided by his imaginary friend, has a unique perspective on life. His imagination comes into play both in his childish drawings, which come alive through animation, and in the ridiculous schemes he comes up with, against Seán’s better judgement. With Seán’s help, Martin negotiates life as the youngest in a chaotic, scatter-brained family.
Last Tango in Halifax
From a drama perspective, we’ve already paid more attention than the law allows to Father Brown, but another high on the list to make its way to public television as soon as possible was Last Tango in Halifax, starring Sir Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid and Nicola Walker. With six episodes having already aired in the UK and a second series already commissioned, looks like Last Tango… will be around for awhile. Well, I guess you never know. Just ask the producers of The Hour.
Jacobi and Reid star as would-be childhood sweethearts Alan and Celia who are reunited after 60 years. As their lives collide for a second time, Alan and Celia lament over what might have been as they take us on a life-affirming journey of what can still happen.
While the storyline may be a bit familiar to longtime fans of the British comedy series, As Time Goes By, the Sally Wainwright script is brilliant. Wainwright, who is also responsible for Scott & Bailey, has said that Celia’s story was also that of her own mother, who married an old friend she’d met via Friends Reunited. “Every time I told anyone that story, their face would light up in utter joy that two people had found something so special so late in life. It was just so obvious that I should write about it.”
It’s been a great 10 days of watching television on your behalf to see what might make its way to your telly in the coming year. Before you line-up to take my job, however, remember I also watch bad television so you don’t have to. See you back on the other side of the pond.