Here's an abject lesson in how to waste potential, if ever I saw one. True Love could have been a small-screen drama-heavy version of Love, Actually (there are signs it wanted to be), but for some inexplicable reason writer-director Dominic Savage largely chose miserablism. I like the basic concept, though: five half-hour love stories, broadcast across four nights, with a few characters straying into other episodes, all set in the seaside town of Margate. And look at the fabulous cast assembled: Doctor Who's David Tennant, Inside Men's Ashley Walters, Secret Diary's Billie Piper, Ab Fab's Jane Horrocks, State Of Play's David Morrissey, EastEnders' Lacey Turner, Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt, This Is England's Vicky McClure, Skins' Kaya Scodelario, Star Trek's Alexander Siddig, Fresh Meat's Gemma Chan, Nil By Mouth's Charlie Creed-Miles, Call The Midwife's Jenny Agutter, and Kidulthood's Jaime Winstone. It was a veritable who's who of veterans and rising stars, but their presence gave false hope. True Love, taken as a whole, stank.
|"NICK" *½ (out of four)|
|"PAUL" * (out of four)|
Then we met middle-aged Sandra (Horrocks), a gift shop owner stuck in a loveless marriage with David (Miles), the man Holly was sleeping with in the previous episode, who seized a chance to escape her ennui with dashing toilet cleaner Ishmael (Siddig). Horrocks brought a lot of sincerity to a thin role, but by this stage it had become clear each vignette isn't going to amount to anything stimulating. Given its concept, it's a shame the stories weren't interconnected to a far greater extent, if only to answer various questions. I mean, did David have sex with Holly because Sandra left him for another man? Or was he already seeing Holly behind his wife's back, making him a hypocrite?
|"HOLLY" **½ (out of four)|
|"SANDRA" *½ (out of four)|
|"ADRIAN" **½ (out of four)|
written & directed by Dominic Savage / 17-20 June 2012 / BBC1