Television Review

SOMETIMES IT'S hard to be a thirtysomething - at least, if you want to see your experiences given a comic spin and served up in palatable form as drama. A flick across the channels offers practically every aspect of the twentysomething psyche, from the bird-brained high anxiety of Ally McBeal to the sickly peer-group bonding of Friends. But what if you feel like something more grown-up, more complex, more John Updike than Bridget Jones? Unless you fancy an interminable succession of documentaries about the horrors of assisted conception, the pickings are thin.

But Cold Feet (Sun, ITV) looks as though it may bring some variation to this arid landscape. A pilot, shown 18 months ago, ended on an audacious upbeat, with Adam (James Nesbitt) attempting to convey to Rachel (Helen Baxendale) the depth of his feelings by serenading her, starkers but for a rose clenched between the cheeks of his bum. "It was a bit wilted by the time I got it," reminisced Rachel, a girl with a sharp tongue on her. On Sunday, Adam was at it again, celebrating the anniversary of their first shag by capering about outside Rachel's office window with a brace of maracas. Confronted with this, Rachel maintained her sang-froid with ominous ease.

The entwined narratives are underpinned with a structure of formulaic simplicity. The comedy relies on the interplay between three couples whose relationships are at various stages of development: Karen and David have a child, Peter and Jenny produced one in Sunday's episode, and Rachel and Adam are still skirting the issue of commitment.

Some fancy flashbacks and Benetton-style glossy radicalism notwithstanding (a protracted cinema-verite birth scene offered lots of shots up Jenny's nightie, but was curiously reticent on the subject of afterbirth), neither script nor direction are innovative, relying heavily on charm and the formidable star presence of Baxendale. There is a potent whiff of undeployed resources. Next week I hope for less charm and more grit.

There is grit and charm in Richard Cooper and Peter Tabern's adaptation of Captain Marryat's Children of the New Forest (Sun, BBC1). This is a handsome production, with plenty of chasing about the greenwood on horseback and some sly jokes: "We wait upon Lord Bressingham," drawled an impossible camp Charles I, "who has boldly gone to seek out our enemies."

The production negotiates with ease the problem of making the story vivid and comprehensible enough to engage small children, while maintaining layers of moral complexity sufficient to keep their older siblings interested. The Cavaliers look lovely, but are useless at winning battles; the Levellers, meanwhile, bellow righteous hymns while putting old ladies to the torch. Wrong but romantic? Right but repulsive? The arguments around the tea tables will be lively.

It is unwise to allow one's attention to wander while Jonathan Meades is talking, but every so often during Travels With Pevsner (Sat, BBC2) I found myself wondering if he is a Roundhead or a Cavalier. Meades himself would plainly prefer to be thought a Roundhead. A portly figure with a marked (and not, I fancy, unconscious) resemblance to John Belushi in The Blues Brothers, he wandered through the Worcestershire landscape of his childhood, putting the boot in with alarming energy. The nostalgic English attachment to landscape, Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, the ghastly good taste of the National Trust and English Heritage - all retired hurt, while AE Housman's loving preoccupation with death by hanging was discussed to a backdrop of a pair of dangling legs.

A performer so mannered, with such intemperate opinions, runs a risk of deliquescing into a collection of his own quirks. But Meades shows no sign of this. His savage indignation seems to keep his ego in check. I can't think why the BBC doesn't put him on at prime time.

What it does put on at prime time is Lesley Garrett Tonight (Sat, BBC2). This is a programme in which Garrett, surrounded by props from the wilder shores of kitsch, performs bleeding musical gobbets hewn from the popular classics. Had it been Lily Savage inside Miss Garrett's swishy Lindka Cierach costume, I should be praising a cruel but brilliant caricature of a self-regarding diva.

Arts and Entertainment
Keith from The Office ten years on

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams prepares to enter the House of Black and White as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season five

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Albert Hammond Junior of The Strokes performs at the Natural History Museum on July 6, 2006 in London, England.

music
Arts and Entertainment
Howard Mollison, as played by Michael Gambon
tv review
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech

The best TV shows and films coming to the service

tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003