Bed Among The Lentils is the eighth of 12 episodes using the original Alan Bennett scripts but with new actors.
Lesley Manville takes the lead role of Susan, wife of vicar Geoffrey, and she’s not happy with her lot for a number of reasons, initially telling us, “Geoffrey’s bad enough, but it’s not as bad as being married to Jesus”.
One thing she detests is simply having to go to church, arguing why, when a barrister’s wife doesn’t have to go to court? That’s a fair point. And when she asks her husband if he believes in God, he doesn’t ever say…
Along the way, she skirts around the issue of the fact she has no full relationship with her husband any more, but that later, even in her advancing years, she meets and speaks to local shop owner, Mr Ramesh, who shows her the more ‘flexible’ ways of life…
As an aside, at around 25:15, she trips over saying the name “Mr Ramesh” but then picks herself up on it. Given the one-take nature of these scenes, you can tell she doesn’t want to stop the scene.
Overall, Bed Among The Lentils is an okay episode, and moderately engaging, but it does rather go on. Ms Manville is certainly worth watching for this, but as a drama, it takes a crazy long time getting to the point we’re all waiting for, as she forever bangs on about how crap it is being a vicar’s wife. We got that in the first five minutes, so as this runs over 46 minutes, less would clearly mean more.
Bed Among The Lentils: Talking Heads is on BBC1 on Wednesday July 1st at 7.30pm. The series is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
However, you can also the Original Talking Heads series on DVD.
The entire series is now available on the BBC iPlayer.
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Writer: Alan Bennett
Marjory: Lesley Manville
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.