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I am an aspiring writer living and working in Hull. I working on a novel, as well as writing short stories to keep my writing skills fresh. I decided to start a writing blog to connect with other writers. So please, take a look around and leave some comments - I'd love to read some of your writing blogs too. Nari X

Monday, 18 October 2010

Single Father (Possible Spoilers if you haven't seen it)

Ah, what a weekend! Lots of 24, Hull Fair, Single Father, which I'll do a full review on, more 24... what a life I lead. I also managed to spend a whole day on one application form, which I think goes to show how excited I am by the job. Its an Admin job (in a nutshell) at a local special needs school, and I went to visit on Thursday.
What a disaster.
Oh fingers crossed, but with a healthy dose of reality. It's in God's more than capable hands now.

Hull Fair was good fun, though I suspect purely because of the company. Dodgems - most fun I've had in a long time. I even have a bruise on my leg to show for it. And my wonderful better half bought me a chocolate apple and won me a cute little teddy. Thanks Rob :)

Last night was the second episode of BBC One's Single Father, a four part drama about Dave Tyler (David Tennant) and his struggle to look after four children after the death of his wife, Rita (Laura Fraser). Rob and I were on the edge of our seats the whole way through. It's an intense, emotional look at life after loss and the heavy wieght of grief alongside responsibilities, which delves deep into the complexities of human emotion. I think that the writing and production are spectacular. And, of course, flawless acting from David Tennant. 

In last week's episode, we saw a snippet of the family's life before Rita's death, and their immediate reactions to the tragedy, before jumping to 10 weeks later, when the loss is less fresh, but more prevalent than ever. Several sub-plots started to open up, like the developing, perhaps inapropriate closeness of Dave and Rita's best friend, Sarah (Suranne Jones), and the need for Lucy (Natasha Watson), Rita's daughter from a previous relationship, to find her real father.

This week we found out shocking truths about the relationship between Rita and Lucy's dad, and cringed behind the cushions as little Evie (Millie Innes) walks in on something she really does not need to see.

What I love most about the programme so far is the lack of cheesy, obvious exposition. You know, in film and television there's always that odd line you know was selotaped into the actual dialogue to get information to the viewer. Of course, there are fundamental things the viewer needs to know, but Mick Ford (the writer) does this very subtly. 

I think what enables this subtlety is the realism - the fact that we, the viewers, are merely spectating in these people's lives. We pick things up from throw-away comments, how people interact with each other and the simple word 'Dad' from Tanya. At first, you think this girl just works for Dave (the main character), but that one word lets us know that she is in fact his daughter from a previous marriage. 

I'll admit, at points I have been confused as to who's who, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It means we talk about it, we think about it, we have rapid discussions during the advert breaks. I had my phone in hand, texting my sister most of the way through clarifying tidbits of information one of the three of us missed. I love it. And in all honesty, I think Ford fully intended us to be asking these questions. I get the impression he is completely in control of what we know when and how the full revelations will impact the viewer, and that is a sign of very good writing. If that is not the case, I will be thoroughly disappointed. 

The characters are developing wonderfully; for example, Rita's sister, Anna (Neve McIntosh), we first see as an unsympathetic, angry person who somehow blames Dave, or is hostile towards him. In this second episode, after she has bought the children mobile phones, we finally see her break. Of course, she misses Rita. Dave finally finds common ground with Anna, because they both understand what the other is going through.

Dave’s struggle is growing rather than diminishing, as he not only has to deal with his own grief and the many other feelings which are growing from it, but he has to find ways of dealing with the children’s various responses to their mother’s death. This, of course, adds a strong dynamic to the intensity of the story, because you feel Dave's stress when all of the children are   in shot, all demanding things or wanting some attention. There's no space for him to break down, no time to feel the weight, even though he clearly does.

And the revelations about Lucy's dad are definately not going to help matters. How can you be angry with someone who has passed away? More importantly, how can you make peace with them? How can he ever hope to understand why she kept these things from him for all these years, or piece together the true picture of their life together?

I’m really looking forward to the next episode, and will post another short blog then, and perhaps an overall look after the last episode. The next episode is due to air on Sunday 24th October at 9:00pm on BBC One. I would definitely recommend tuning in, and if you haven;t seen the previous episodes, catch up on iPlayer first. 
Also, check out Mick Ford's blog on how the drama came into being here

As for now, I'm going to have a baked potato and a cuppa. 

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