So, after truly dreadful Festive television (with only a few exceptions like Doctor Who and Death comes to Pemberley), will the new season deliver anything worth watching? Well, this week is replete with decent stuff from several hours in the company of Professor Brian Cox on Stargazing Live, to BBC1’s two part drama starring Sheridan Smith, Olivia Colman and David Morrissey, The 7:39.
The first part was shown last night. It’s written by the author of One Day, David Nicholls. That novel was a work of genius, which I loved. However, his previous work, Starter for Ten was laddish and pretty awful. The 7:39 was somewhere in between. It centres around two commuters who meet on their daily journey on the 7:39 train to Waterloo. Carl has been happily and comfortably married to Maggie for not far off 20 years. Sally has been married before but is currently in an unsatisfactory relationship with a very annoying exercise instructor.
The mutual attraction creeps up on them but this turns from a classy Brief Encounter type affair to your average middle aged man’s fantasy pretty quickly. I mean, come on, how many gym managers have the keys and entertain their customers after hours in the sauna? And of course all the gym action means that our blonde, much younger lady is incredibly fit. It may, of course, be, that it’s all done like that to make the contrast greater when it all ends in tears as it is bound to do so.
For all that, all the characters came across relatively sympathetically. Carl and Sally are quite nice, ordinary people. He veers between being bold and totally out of his depth and shy and excited with the whole thing. Morrissey is so good at getting that across. Sheridan Smith plays Sally sensitively, too, making her sympathetic.
I’m looking forward to the conclusion tonight.