Last Tango in Halifax, review: Can we ever really move on from Kate?

Episode 5: Neither Caroline nor the audience are ready to let go but the story is already moving on

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The Independent Culture

It’s been six weeks since the death of Kate (Nina Sosanya) but her absence continues to feel very real. She is still very much present - even if she is an ethereal being of sorts living inside Caroline’s (Sarah Lancashire) head.

It feels as if writer Sally Wainwright is secretly not completely convinced by her own decision and keeps a ghostly version of Kate lingering on - albeit slightly out of focus.

Perhaps Kate will hang about ad infinitum, giving Last Tango in Halifax a surreal twist? Maybe when Alan and Celia eventually pop their clogs, she can do the same with them? That way none of our much-loved TV friends will ever truly leave us.

Wainwright has defended her decision to kill off Kate and even wrote another version of the episode where Kate didn’t die. But inevitably she decided that the death would serve the story better.


Tonight, two episodes after she was knocked over in a hit-and-run while heavily pregnant, it still doesn’t feel like the narrative has developed much. Everyone is stuck in the same place more or less.

The adventures of Gillian (Nicola Walker) and her chaotic love life continue: she encounters an ex-lover who seems eager to get back into her knickers. Then there’s her inner debate over whether to tell her husband-to-be about what really happened to his brother and her dead husband Eddie. Don’t get me wrong, Gillian is a marvellous character but it’s wearying watching her contend with all these men. No wonder that brow is always so puckered.

Meanwhile Gary (Rupert Graves) is vying with John (Tony Gardner) to claim the crown for the most annoying character on the show. John still has the edge with his insensitive suggestion that he and Caroline could get back together. Would anyone really miss John if he ended up meeting his maker?

The only ray of hope is Flora’s biological father Greg (Marcus Garvey), who rocks up on the scene and injects an exciting new vibe to the series, which at times is starting to feel tired. Perhaps the question on all of our minds is this: can Last Tango in Halifax move on from Kate’s death?