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20 November ‘12

TV Critics: Last Tango in Halifax; Fresh Meat

“It triumphed because it wasn’t about old people or even elderly romance, but love.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

Last Tango in Halifax, BBC1

“I knew exactly what I was in for from the very start; a light, bitter-sweet rom-com with plenty of outdoor shots of the Yorkshire countryside to draw in the same viewers who lapped up the James Herriot vet tales. With not a hint of butter. And so it proved. The biggest surpise was that despite it all being terribly familiar and predictable, Last Tango was not at all bad… While I couldn’t help wondering what Derek Jacobi (Alan) and Anne Reid (Celia) might have done with a more challenging script, I couldn’t fault their commitment. It’s not that often a pair of 70-year-olds get to take centre stage in a rom-com and they did so with charm, coyness and experience.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“Last Tango could have patronised its aged protagonists or targeted only an ageing audience. But it triumphed because it wasn’t about old people or even elderly romance, but love.”
Simon Usborne, The Independent

“A little reminiscent of Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea but promising happier outcomes, Last Tango features a treat of a performance from Anne Reid as Celia, a rebellious and impetuous truth-teller, and the welcome return to TV of Derek Jacobi.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

“Love across the class divide is a well-furrowed field. The bus pass romance genre has not exactly been neglected in TV drama either. All the same, this feels fresh and full of promise.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

Fresh Meat, Channel 4

“This week’s instalment of Fresh Meat barely put a foot wrong. If it was the humour that initially caught people’s attention, it has long since become just one element in a show of increasing depth.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“Writer Jon Brown scored hit after hit with his dialogue, conjured a strong scene between Oregon, her blameless boyfriend Dylan and his father, whom she had shagged, and left us genuinely concerned for Josie, kicked off her course for drilling through a cheek and now manically baking crumble. As ever, Fresh Meat’s take on the posh set is unmatched.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

Readers' comments (2)

  • Does the Express's reviewer ("The bus pass romance genre has not exactly been neglected in TV drama") know television? Finely crafted dramas and comedies about characters over 45 are constantly turned away by Indies on the basis that "broadcasters won't touch them" - so perhaps Last Tango represents one in the eye for that kind of blinkered attitude and thoughtlessly casual dismissal of entertaining, challenging and valuable projects.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Ah, Anonymous, hello. It's mid-week and you've read a tiny precis of my Express review on the Broadcast website, and you're using it to argue that I know nothing about television. I do at least strive to make whatever I write original. Which is more than your good self.

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