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Love and Marriage

Love and Marriage

Wed Jun 5, 9-10pm, ITV

By Phil Harrison
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Series one, episode one
Gentle family dramas? They’re bloody everywhere at the moment. Second series of ‘The Cafe’ and ‘Starlings’ are imminent on Sky. ‘Frankie’ ambles on over on BBC1. And then there’s this new offering in which Alison Steadman’s long-suffering matriarch Pauline Paradise (whose name makes her sound more like a drag queen) decides – on the occasion of her father’s funeral, no less – that she’s fed up of producing party spreads, lending money, providing endless, one-way emotional support and spending time with her silent husband. Instead, she’s going to bugger off and live with her sister; her brood can stand on their own two feet for once.

Initial signs aren’t good – jaunty piano music signposts everything and the increasingly worn-out narrative device of characters delivering documentary-style pieces-to-camera feels lazy. But Steadman is a trooper, even in a role she could probably play in her sleep and, by the end, it just about feels worth hanging on for another episode. It’s an extremely close run thing, though…
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