Last night, BBC One began a five-part British drama called True Love by award-winning writer and director Dominic Savage. Spread out over five episodes, True Love tells five different stories of five individuals that all live in the seaside town of Margate.
It's always a treat when a drama is played out over five consecutive nights, however airing something of this quality at 10:30pm does not give it the justice it deserves. When I reviewed One Night, I felt it deserved better a better timeslot and better promotion, and the same can be said about True Love.
What sets True Love apart from One Night and other BBC British dramas is the fact that this is semi-improvised. The great work from Savage and indeed the very high calibre of actors involved in True Love, ensure that this improvisation does not strip away the emotion that a story like True Love deserves.
Set in Margate each of the five episodes tell the story of a different character living in Margate who all have one thing in common. That is that their true love has suddenly arrived on the scene and tough decisions are ahead for each of the characters. There is some inevitable overlap of characters, such as Michelle, played by Lacey Turner (EastEnders) who appears in Episode One as Serena's sister and then again in Episode Four as Paul's wife.
First up was the story of Nick, played by David Tennant (Doctor Who), who is a happily married man whose true love turns up out of the blue placing him in a rather tricky situation.The brilliant Vicky McClure (This Is England) plays Serena, Nick's true love, and gave yet another great performance that we have come to expect from her. Her arrival places Nick in a dilemma as he loves his wife and children more than anything in the world and is not sure whether he is able to go back to the love he and Serena once had.
Monday's episode told the story of Paul, played by Ashley Walters (Bullet Boy, Life & Lyrics, Top Boy). Married to Michelle, Paul finds himself falling in love with Stella, (Jamie Winstone, Kidulthood). Having been a fan of Ashley Walters for a long time it was great to see him in a slightly different role where he doesn't play a 'bad boy' and his true acting talent could shine through.
Tuesday night's episode tells the story of Holly, a school teacher played by Billie Piper (Doctor Who, Secret Diary). In a somewhat more complicated scenario than that of Nick, Holly finds herself in an tricky situation and falls for one of her female pupils played by former Skins actress Kaya Scodelario. Surely no good could have come of these feelings? Not only does she have to make a decision about her sexuality but her job could be on the line if she were to act upon her instincts.
How will the rest of her class react when they find out about her secret relationship with Karen, apart from chanting 'Lesbian' at her prompting her to walk out of the classroom? As with the previous two episodes, she has to decide who is her true love, and who indeed she should stay with.
Wednesday night's episode tells the story of Sandra, played by Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous, Trollied) who is coming to terms with the fact her marriage isn't as good as it once was.
Remember, in Episode Three Holly was seeing a married man? Well that man turns out to be Sandra's husband. When her youngest child moves out of the family home, Sandra decides that there is nothing worth staying for and goes in search of her true love. Will the guy she meets be her true love? Or is he too different to how she is.
The final episode, which aired straight after Episode Four, belongs to divorced and looking for love Adrian, played by David Morrissey (State Of Play). Despite having gone through one failed marriage he doesn't give up on finding his true love and when he thinks he's found her, she seems a bit too much for him to handle.
Having watched all episodes in advance each story is feel performed and tells the story of 'true love' brilliantly. Even though each of the five stories inter-linked in some way, this did not take away from the enjoyment of the series and didn't enable too much thinking as each episode stood alone and the inter-linking was a by-product that wasn't necessary for the telling of the story.
Despite each episode only being half an hour, each episode had enough drama, enough highs and lows to keep the viewer captivated within the action and we were offered glimpses into the lives of five different people who each have to deal with true love, and what that really means.
It's great also to see Margate back on the map with some brilliant locations chosen for some of the scenes in True Love.
All in all each episode was well constructed, brilliantly constructed and another example of great British Drama from the BBC.