Never Never (2000)

In Recommendation, Review, series on 11/09/2012 at 12:38 pm

This two-part Channel 4 council estate drama pivots around John Parlour (John Simm) and Jo Weller (Sophie Okonedo). John tricks people into getting loans they can’t afford on a London council estate where only few have jobs or even a bank account. Jo, one of the residents, is knee-deep in debt and struggles to provide for her two young kids. And then everything changes.

Never Never, a story written by acclaimed playwright Tony Marchant, is essentially about good people doing bad things and vice versa. It’s free from any sort of class judgement that might put you off, elegantly letting people be people. Good tension throughout is created by the “will John become a good person with morals and stuff” question – which is, as it should, left unanswered (because stuff just isn’t that black/white, is it?). There’s also great acting (oh yes, Ruth Sheen is in it too, you know, one of Mike Leigh‘s favourites), this acting supported by the good writing, allowing for heaps of emotions left unspoken yet blatantly obviously present.

Even if the narrative is sometimes predictable to seasoned fiction readers and viewers, this production is essentially too in-your-face-honest and charming to disagree with it. That, and John Simm is just a bit too good to do anything wrong, innit.

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