Jane Marlow is enthralled by ITV1's sex therapy drama Between the Sheets which breaks new ground on the small screen, but wouldn't watch it with her mum.
Name a show that's on ITV at 21.00 that you wouldn't want to watch with your mother... Foyle's War? No problem. Second half of A Touch of Frost?Absolutely. We could probably even do Holiday Showdown together at a pinch.But ask me to hunker down with a box of Black Magic and a bottle of Vouvray to watch Kay Mellor's latest drama Between the Sheets en famille and the answer would have to be: no way.It's the sort of programme that makes me thank the Lord that my mother lives 100 miles away and also makes me pick up the phone to check that she's not on her way up the M3 planning a surprise visit.Not that all television aired at 21.00 should be the kind of fodder you'd watch with your parents. But usually a voiceover announcing the fact that there are "scenes of a sexual nature" doesn't automatically make you change channels and turn the video on when they're in the room. We're all adults.We can cope. But Between the Sheets is the exception and that's the most grabbing thing about it.After the first episode, which cast Norman Wisdom as an OAP version of Justin Timberlake to Nana from the Royle Family's new-born sexual being, I was left wondering, where has this left itself to go?But the sex thing is only part of the story. In fact, going down the generations, Brenda Blethyn's mirror-using, Lady Chatterley's Lover-reading Hazel breathes new life into the old "tired marriage" story.And, as well as having proper, fully rounded characters there's even plot and intrigue too. What will the geezer who's seen Hazel's son having sex at her husband's lap-dancing club do with the information? What will the sex therapist do now she thinks her husband might be having it away with one of his charges? What will Hazel do when she puts theory into practice? What will they all do if someone forgets to extinguish Hazel's extensive collection of mood-setting candles and their lovely Yorkshire home goes up in smoke? Health and safety issues abound.You could tune in to next week's episode to find out what happens, but I've got a much safer option on the cards. My mum's coming up and I've got a box set of The Sopranos series four lined up to keep her from wondering what's on ITV1.The video will be on timer in the other room, mind, but at least you know where you are with brutal mobsters.- Kay Mellor interview, page 23.