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
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
books
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
film
Arts and Entertainment
Go figure: Matt Parker, wearing the binary code scarf knitted by his mother
comedy Mathematician is using comedy nights to teach and preach sums
Arts and Entertainment
Ryan Gosling in 'Drive'
filmReview: Ryan Gosling is still there, but it's a very different film
Arts and Entertainment
Urban explorer: Rose Rouse has documented her walks around Harlesden, and the people that she’s encountered along the way
books Rouse's new book discusses her four-year tour of Harlesden
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Franco Zeffirelli's production of 'Aida' at Milan's famed La Scala opera house
operaLegendary opera director in battle with theatre over sale of one of his 'greatest' productions
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Juergen Wolf won the Young Masters Art Prize 2014 with his mixed media painting on wood, 'Untitled'
art
Arts and Entertainment
Iron Man and Captain America in a scene from
filmThe upcoming 'Black Panther' film will feature a solo black male lead, while a female superhero will take centre stage in 'Captain Marvel'
Arts and Entertainment
The Imperial War Museum, pictured, has campaigned to display copyrighted works during the First World War centenary
art
Arts and Entertainment
American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson plays conjoined twins Dot and Bette Tattler
tvReview: Yes, it’s depraved for the most part but strangely enough it has heart to it
Arts and Entertainment
The mind behind Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin
books

Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Dorothy in Return to Oz

film Unintentionally terrifying children's movies to get you howling (in fear, tears or laughter)
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robert James-Collier as under-butler Thomas

TVLady Edith and Thomas show sad signs of the time
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Dad's Army cast hit the big screen

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge

books
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning?
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
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 drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes