TV Review: All The Small Things
By Jeremy Clay
Where’s Kerry Packer when you finally need him?
In the early 1990s, when the late media tycoon was boss of Down Under’s Nine Network, his channel launched a lewd new show called Australia Naughtiest Home Videos.
It didn’t even make it to the end of its first episode. A livid Packer was watching at home, and called the station to order them to “get that **** off the air.”
Cheap Van Insurance For 17,18 & 19 Year Old Drivers - Call Insure365 01782 898188, Free Legal Protection Cover Included valued at £25.00!
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Monday, June 24 2013
After an ad break, the channel duly cut to a repeat of Cheers.
We could have done with someone like Packer at BBC1 during the final half hour of All The Small Things (9pm).
In Debbie Horsfield’s laughably bad new drama, which is stitched together with all the skill of a hook-handed drunk, Neil Pearson and Sarah Lancashire play a happily married couple who are the stalwarts of their local choir.
That choir appears to have been cast to hit BBC quotas – with a dwarf, an autistic kid and a Benny-from-Crossroads figure, with a stutter – but there was little in the opening minutes to suggest a looming calamity.
Lancashire’s a reliable performer. And there was plenty of choral singing, which must have been nice, if you like that sort of thing.
It wasn’t for me - wrong age, wrong genitalia – but it was pretty harmless, in a Mistresses meets Last Choir Standing kind of way.
But then, much like Jacqui Smith’s career, everything went horribly wrong.
The arrival of Sarah Alexander’s angel-voiced soprano Layla triggered an instantly-formed mid-life crisis for Pearson’s badly-drawn character, Michael.
So he walked out on his mumsy missus Esther (Lancashire), leaving her with the kids – including the troubled Kyle, played with startling inability by ex-Corrie goth Richard Fleeshman.
What followed had about as much subtlety as a stampede of elephants.
The gifted Kyle got bullied. And the spurned Esther formed a rival choir of her own. With guitars! And drums! Yeah, take that, Men.
And in an ending which even Home and Away writers would find cheesy, they took on Michael’s mob at a musical festival, and won. To the risible fury of Layla.
There may have been more; I could have missed something. But I was guffawing quite a bit by this stage.
That laughter was stopped dead by two words on the closing credits: Next time...
Oh, lordy. It’s a series.