Are there any boring people left? I know, I know: we’ve all got talents and skeletons hidden somewhere. But when I measure my life against the people on TV, I feel about as bohemian as Norma Major.
As the drama Love, Lies and Records (BBC One, Thursdays, 9pm) is set in a register office, I assumed it would be fat men from the council filling out forms. But no. Oh no. On one day alone, Kate Dickenson (Ashley Jensen) gets a promotion, presides at the wedding of a dying woman in her hospital bed, investigates a people-smuggler, comforts a colleague who wants to become a woman and tries to destroy the video evidence of her affair with a co-worker. I don’t know about you, but my idea of an exciting day at the office is when someone buys doughnuts. Clearly I’m in the wrong job.
“But Tim, you wouldn’t watch TV if it was as boring as real life,” I hear you say. True, but it’s reaching a point when TV writers are so lost in a bubble of liberal anxiety, and so desperate to outbid each other for ratings, that the soap (because that’s all Records is, whatever its pretensions) stops being representative and becomes ridiculous. As when I recently tuned into Coronation Street and saw the gay vicar confessing to his boyfriend that he once robbed a petrol station with a gun. Is this supposed to be a slice of life?
I wouldn’t mind if there was some moral point to it all. But unless Records goes in a very different direction from its first episode, it looks like Kate isn’t so much guilty about her affair as worried that it’ll cost her her job. In fact, she still banters with her bit on the side in the workplace in a way that breaks every rule of this reckoning on sexual harassment that we are currently going through – and leaves the central characters looking as unsympathetic as they are unlikely.
The thing to do with a show like Records is ignore it and return for the last episode to see where all the nonsense ends up. I can’t wait to see how Kate deals with having to marry a white witch to a Dalek.
How to continue reading…
This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week
The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection