Bev is a downtrodden housewife who's failed her driving test eight times, having only been instructed by her impatient husband Ian. After registering with a driving school, she develops a crush on her instructor, Chris.
In the 1970s, a young trans woman, Patrick "Kitten" Braden, comes of age by leaving her Irish town for London, in part to look for her mother and in part because her gender identity is beyond the town's understanding.
British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
If I were a budding TV writer, I'd change my name to Davies. First there was Andrew who produced a fascinating and quirky little series called A Very Peculiar Practice, and the next thing you know he is writing every single adaptation we see, not infrequently for both rival terrestrial UK channels at the same time. Now it appears to be the turn of Russell T., who parlayed his gay sex shockfest Queer As Folk into Bob and Rose, Doctor Who and now this irreverent and somewhat over the top examination of the life of the infamous lover, Giacomo Casanova.
It's funny, it's irreverent, it's very fast moving and it keeps you watching. Completely eschewing period-ese language, David Tennant portrays Casanova as a cheeky on-the-up spiv who in the 21st Century might well have put himself forward as a contestant for Big Brother. He is instantly likable. Laura Fraser is very strong as the "lost love" interest, Henriette.
Disappointingly the programme seems to regard Casanova's lovemaking prowess as a minor detail, relegating it in the opening episode to a montage of fully-clothed sex scenes that are little more than snapshots. This sense of holding back was compounded when Casanova ripped his new wife and former fake-Castrato-in-travéstie singer Bellino's dress open so that it gaped for the assembled crowd - but not for the camera! This apparent prudishness seems to go against the spirit of the remainder of the enterprise. Perhaps after the Jerry Springer débacle, the BBC is taking no chances.
Peter O'Toole, as the older Casanova explaining his life story to a girl of formerly high family who has fallen on hard times and is acting as his maidservant, performs his part with all the best elements of his enormous experience, both as an actor, and of his own scarcely stain-free life story. He is so remarkably vigorous, agile and attractive (at 73!), he reminds you why he nearly turned down his Life Achievement Oscar in the hopes, still, of one day "getting a real one".
A worthwhile little production for the fledgling BBC Three, much better than the scanty Alan Clark Diaries.
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