The Cambridge Geek

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Growing old disgracefully again, with Bill Nighy (playing John) and Anna Calder-Marshall (playing Maggie), in the third series of this programme about a couple who fall in and out of love multiple times over their lives (I think. Not actually heard the first couple of series, so it's possible there's something else going on entirely). It's a 15 Minute Drama, but omnibus is out now (I'm a bit late to this one), so I'd suggest jumping on that instead.

John rocks up on Maggie's doorstep, singing a bad love song in the hopes of a romantic re-awakening, and since she never really got over him, she lets him back into her quiet (almost hermit-like) village life. Luckily, she doesn't fit into village life either, so they both end up failing to deal with mother and baby meetings, stressful dinner parties and the difficult reputations of bike leathers. And the ever terrible meeting with the children.

It's running a fine line between the comedy of the pitfalls of the mature life and everything that might go wrong with it, and the more miserable elements of missed opportunities and lost time. Tends to run somewhat maudlin on occasion, but done sufficiently well by the pair that I wasn't too put off. And when they're behaving in a rioutous manner (the majority of the time), their silliness and spirited joy is rather infectious. Compare with something like Conversations from a Long Marriage, in which once again a highly competent acting pair make a lot of a relatively mundane situation (though that's not to fault the writing).

The most interesting aspect of this is the use throughout of music, woven into the narrative via singing of lyrics on the part of the pair, with a few hummed bars leading into a clever transition. It's a good effect, and not one I'd be annoyed to see more of. Might have to go and dig up the previous two series, which luckily appear to now be available to see if it's been used in the earlier ones.

Relatively short piece, that doesn't take much of an investment in time, and has two very fine actors giving an excellent performance. If it flew under your radar, maybe go back and give it a quick ping.

Score 4

Tagged: Radio Comedy Two hander Sitcom Family/Relationships