review : And they all lived unhappily ever after

"It's a bit like Spanish wine, isn't it?" said the immigration solicitor. "When you get it on holiday in Spain it's wonderful, but when you get it home it tastes horrible." She was advising Carol, a 52-year- old London divorcee who had just married Lamin, a 27-year-old Gambian beach-boy. Not all of Carol's friends had been quite as tactful as this, pointing out that Lamin might have other things on his mind than a life of connubial bliss in Archway with a woman old enough to be his mother.

Helena Appio's very watchable film for Modern Times (BBC2) cleverly began in Lamin's absence, allowing you to work up some doubts about the wisdom of the match before you actually got to meet him. You knew that Carol had conquered her own cultural prejudices: "Lookin' at his skin - bein' as it's so black you'd think it would be hard, you know, but it's not." But would soft skin be enough to bridge the gap between a Muslim boy of limited education and a middle-aged Catholic Englishwoman? At the same time Carol was confident that she wasn't being taken for a ride: "I think I'm quite a good judge of people," she said. But she had been divorced twice already, so you couldn't put too much store by that. Her hopes were so giddy, the gamble so reckless, that you waited for the arrival of the groom with uneasy anticipation, anxious to cast a guardian's sceptical eye over him.

The odds didn't alter much when he arrived. Lamin's principal method of persuasion was repetition: "I love Carol, I love Carol, I love Carol," he said loudly in the pub, kissing his hand elaborately between each avowal. But he seemed distinctly ill at ease in her company, a little melancholy about the coming wedding. He was right - it looked like the marriage wasn't going to make it past midnight after a row blew up over his intention to take the next day off for the Notting Hill Carnival. In fact, he took off for four days, a sort of extended stag night which followed the ceremony. Carol explained some home truths to him when he finally returned: "We call it constumating (sic) the marriage," she explained, but he hadn't. An hour after that they'd made it up again, but the relationship looked as durable and weatherproof as a cheap straw hat, bought in a moment of madness on a holiday beach.

The film was lucky in its story, but had also worked to facilitate its luck. In one striking scene the couple sat at home watching the fictional reflection of their relationship on Coronation Street. As Deirdre and her Moroccan toyboy Samir sat there, fretting about his ability to support her, Lamin shouted encouragement from the sofa. What a neat echo, you thought, until the final credit for "Library footage" from Granada Television alerted you to the fact that it was a highly contrived one. Carol had notionally sold her television to pay for Lamin's flight to England - how fortunate that she had been able to obtain another one in time for that telling moment.

There are fewer such constructions in The Real Holiday Show (C4), an extremely enjoyable exploitation of the video-camera's ability to drain glamour from the television screen. The principle is simple - holiday- makers are asked to record their own breaks and the results are professionally edited into short films. The results are rather scrappy and unstructured, but can be as sharply characterised as an Ayckbourn play. They offer a useful antidote to the brochure spotlessness of conventional holiday programmes. Last night's delights included an excruciating talent contest at the California Cliffs Holiday camp in Great Yarmouth and an excursion with four cocky young lads on an 18-30 holiday. "Most unlike Darren," said a whispered voice-over as the camera wobbled surreptitiously towards a sleeping blonde. "Same girl two nights running." I would love to hear Jill Dando read a line like that, but I don't think it's going to happen.

Suggested Topics
News

literature

News
Dermot O'Leary attends the X Factor Wembley Arena auditions at Wembley on August 1, 2014 in London, England.

television

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
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.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing