Last Night's Viewing - Leaving, ITV1; 999: What's Your Emergency?, Channel 4

 

How you feel about Leaving may well depend on how you answer the following question. You are Julie, a woman in her forties, with two teenage children and a job as a deputy manager running weddings and catering at a country house hotel. You are good at your job but undervalued by your boss. Daily exposure to the peak moment of other people's romantic bliss is taking its toll as well. You've got into the habit of mouthing the vows along with your clients and, perhaps, drawing unhelpful comparisons between the idyll of marriage that prevails at a wedding and the reality of marriage 20 years on.

You also seem a little under-confident about your body. You prefer to have the lights turned off when you make love to your husband. And the question is this. When you finally decide to consummate your infatuation with a stripling 20 years younger than you, do you (a) go to the brightly lit room and take your clothes off ready for his arrival, or (b) pull the curtains so that the light levels will be a little more forgiving?

If you answer (a) without hesitation, you'll probably be back for the next two Monday nights. If you answered (b) then you might be wondering just how psychologically acute Tony Marchant's drama is. The question is a little more open than that suggests, though. I forgot to mention that you've got Helen McCrory's body, so it's entirely possible that you're fully aware that you're a knockout and only want the lights off at home so you don't have to look at your husband, a car-park security man who is tenderly uxorious but nobody's idea of the sexually irresistible. Then again – and I'm ill-qualified to offer a definitive view here – is Aaron, the object of Julie's mid-life crisis, anybody's idea of the sexually irresistible? He's played by Callum Turner with a certain cocky assurance and described by Julie's boss as "eye-candy", but he looked to me to be far too gawky and raw-boned to ignite such a disruptive passion.

What is quite interesting is to see an over-familiar staple of television drama – the workplace infidelity with a much younger partner – replayed with a woman in the commanding role. And Marchant nicely captures the way in which sexual attraction is so often accompanied (or revealed) by irritation. Julie's first reaction to Aaron is a kind of protective disdain and strictness, as if she's holding her own feelings at bay. And the really fatal clinch between them – the one that tips a flirtation over into a full-blown affair – is preceded by a bickering explosion of crossness. I think she'd have pulled the curtains myself, but that moment certainly rang true.

Channel 4's 999: What's Your Emergency?, has been promoting itself as something unusual, a soup-to-nuts account that takes you from incoming call to final resolution. In reality, it's pretty standard blue-light-chasing television. The opening sequence promised a picaresque mixture of comedy and urgent drama: "Suze? Vibrator stuck in anus?" a 999 call-fielder says archly to one of his colleagues, as if asking for the official protocol for this emergency. I also enjoyed the tart response from a paramedic to the drunk who boasted that he had an IQ of 148: "Not at the moment you haven't."

But mostly this is the drudgery of human fecklessness, as Blackpool's emergency services mop up after the clubbers, stag parties and drug addicts. The popularity of mephedrone – known as "bubble" in Blackpool – was the main theme, though the reasons for its popularity were a bit hard to fathom. As a female desk sergeant said, explaining why she wasn't personally tempted to give bubble a whirl: "Do I want to be lying in a pile of shit and piss and puke on a Saturday night in custody? No thank you. No. I'd even rather watch X Factor, to be frank."

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