Monday, June 25, 2012

"True Love"

I have been catching up on the BBC improvised drama series 'True Love' and thought I should write about it because it is honestly one of the best things I have seen on TV for a long time. It explores themes of temptation, morals, impulses, passion and love (of course!). Warning, there are some SPOILERS!

The series, directed by Dominic Savage and set in Margate, focuses on individual characters and their romantic/sometimes not so romantic ties. The setting allows for some beautiful moments on the beach which really isn't as much of a cliché as it sounds and some really stunning portrait style shots of the characters. There is also wonderful use of music to fill moments of reflection. The improvisation aspect of the programme reminds me of the convincingness of 'Outnumbered' but in a whole new context. (On a side note, I have realised that Martha Costello/Maxine Peake from 'Silk' and Karen/Ramona Marquez from 'Outnumbered' in fact have very similar traits and quirks.) 

The stories make you aware of very real human emotions and surprise you with who you might end up supporting. It highlights how something quite unconventional, shocking or controversial is maybe what someone else wants more than anything in the world and makes you question whether you can judge anybody for what they do. At the end of the day, we all have reasons.

Viewers also observe the consequences of impulsive decisions - not always for the worse either. In Episode One, the family unit we are introduced to versus the return of the long lost love of the husband's life brought the title of the series to the forefront of my mind. Initially, I felt absolutely terrible about the husband sneaking around to see his ex-girlfriend who had taken off without explanation years ago. What a devastating situation for the wife obviously. But what the programme makes you realise is that where there might be injustice on the surface, it might be the role of fate kicking in. Does true love conquer all? It would seem so in this case but as the character was a relatively sensible one, emotions had to be set aside.

By putting trust in others and trusting sober emotions, some heart-warming decisions were made throughout the series. My favourite episode was Episode Four 'Sandra' where the protagonist is a mother whose youngest daughter has left home. She is left feeling unwanted in her maternal role and unloved in her marriage. Sandra's husband (we learn in Episode Three) was, unbeknown to her, having an affair and as an onlooker, I think the main emotion I felt towards her character was one of pity. It was a shame that her marriage had lost its spark and that they lived in a lovely home that had had its charm sucked out of it because of their dullness and indifference. You end up feeling so sorry about the awkwardness of their attempt to have meals together etc that you start to wonder whether they were ever actually suited in the first place. When karma came around and the cheating husband (by this point dumped by his girlfriend who fell in love with her female student...see Episode 3...!) finds out that Sandra has met another man, we witness the crushing effect it has on him and how it makes him try so much harder. On the flip side, Sandra's chance meeting with a kind Turkish man was the best thing that could have happened to her. He charmed her in a somewhat platonic way (to our knowledge anyway!) and made her realise that she can take control of her life. Each episode shows a way in which such control can be taken and in Sandra's case she packs her bags and gives some meaning to her existence again. Good for her! Great episode and not only because Mumford & Sons songs were used ;)

The improvisation worked incredibly well in my opinion. The awkwardness and tension felt between the characters really translates well through this approach. I thought the actors/actresses were very convincing. The cast included familiar faces such as David Tennant, Billie Piper and Kaya Scodelario, but my favourite performance was that by David Morrissey in the final episode. It is always special when you can identify with a situation.

If you click HERE, you can gain some insight to how the series was filmed.

A stunningly genuine piece of television all round, which I would highly recommend.
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  1. So pleased you liked this series. I have recorded it but have not got around to watching it yet (maybe now that England are out of Euro 2012 I'll get the chance!). I'll come back and read your review after I've watched it so we can compare notes ;-)

  2. So pleased you watched it. We are a business based in the Old Town and they borrowed our furniture for Sandra's Story with Jane Horrocks. That's our green cabinet in the shop!