Television review

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The Independent Culture
The final episode of This Life (BBC2) was soulfully titled "Let's Get It On". This seemed a bit like overkill in light of the fact that all anyone had done over the previous 10 episodes was either get it on, fail to get it on or get down about getting it on. Ostensibly, this series concerned young lawyers making it on the first rungs of the ladder, but the real meat of the action revolved around making it just about anywhere they could manage.

It will be sorely missed. The antics of this gang of twentysomethings has become cult viewing for thirtysomethings: Monday night phone conversations have been severely curtailed in deference to Anna (Daniela Nardini), the brief with the splendid habit of dropping her own, Warren (Jason Hughes), the gay therapy victim, Miles (Jack Davenport), the brooding guy with the brushed-forward hair, Milly (Amita Dhiri) the ferociously competent Asian cutie and her mysteriously-named boyfriend Egg (Andrew Lincoln), who veered from Good Egg to Bad Egg throughout. They drank, they swore, they flossed their teeth, they Did It on desks. It's not so long since this would have been called soft porn; Ms Nardini's mother must have been worried about her daughter contracting pneumonia, so much time did she spend with her keks off. This was Top Soap Viewing for the Nineties.

The final episode concluded as every one that preceded it: with a bang. With several, actually. Anna, who has been showing Egg's dad, Jerry, the joys of Ecstasy ("in my day, if you took drugs you knew about it"), won a case for her dealer, Lanky Roy from Clapham, and celebrated by climbing into a wardrobe with Miles. Milly and Egg, who've been having problems Doing It, followed Warren's example and went into therapy (Milly: "We really like each other, really". Egg: "Being here is a gesture of commitment"). What emerged was that, while Milly might have had a bit of a thing for her boss, Egg was truly sick: he fancied Anthea Turner. In the end, though, Egg agreed to change the sheets and they sneaked off from a party to tear each other's clothes off in the same room where Miles and Anna were in the wardrobe.

Another ordinary day on the professional circuit. This Life won't win any prizes for high art, social comment or sharp dialogue, but it was great fun. And you never know, office life might just become a little more congenial as a result.

Meanwhile, the third part of In the Blood (BBC2) concentrated on the unfashionable question of Original Sin. The nature vs nurture debate has concentrated largely on the latter over the past century, but, with advances in genetics, the pendulum is beginning to swing back. A Dutch geneticist, Han Brunner, studied a family with a history of rape, violence and arson dating back at least as far as a written account from a great-grand-uncle, and isolated a genetic abnormality which, it seemed, was responsible for their uncontrollable rages. This became known as the "crime gene", and defence cases in the States have since been won on the strength of genetic predisposition.

Presenter Steve Jones ran through the arguments, visiting Parkhurst, where he interviewed some truly scary individuals. Patrick, a lifer with the staring eyes of Gene Wilder but none of the humour, told us how it was: "My mother's done time, my dad's done time and I'm doing a life sentence. On my mother's side of the family all my uncles have done time, and on my dad's side of the family three of his brothers have done time. So I would have to say yeah, I'm inherited."

Jones, while obviously buying in to much of the theory, was pessimistic about the results of all this: families being labelled, individuals no longer being responsible for their actions. And if you were on a jury which was convinced that someone was inevitably "wired to kill", would you be more or less likely to exact the death penalty? The undertone was that old fear of scientists treading on God's territory. Where, after all, does redemption stand when free will is taken away?

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