Originally a stage play and reverting to TV after its theatrical screening, John McGrath's feminist saga is what might be termed a curate's scotch egg. In parts it's moving, funny and warm, in others (notably much of the last third) it's mind-numbingly boring, self-righteous and over-prone to the use of that terrible short-cut of having its characters reacting to world events (the Falklands, the Miners' Strike, Thatcher's victories) on TV. Its story is that of one woman, Bessie Gordon, moving from Highland childhood to Glasgow, where she works in an engineering factory, marries the shop steward, becomes politicised, alienated from her sexist-but-leftist hubby, and ends up still optimistic, independent, divorced and recovering from her (deserved?) reputation as a red wrecker in '86. There are some brilliant moments, but the pace is often achingly slow, the dice overloaded in obvious directions, and nothing is helped by the abrupt switch of actresses as Bessie ages from the charming Louise Beattie to the hectoring Elizabeth MacLennan.
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