I Am Nicola centres around Nicola (Vicky McClure – Line of Duty), who’s very unsatisfied with her lot in life because, as a hairdresser, everyone else’s life sounds far more interesting than her’s, such as when she asks them what they’re doing for the weekend, while she has no plans whatsoever, other than to spend it with husband Adam (Perry Fitzpatrick – one of McClure’s co-stars in This Is England 90), but that aspect of her life just isn’t doing it for her anymore.
As such, this leads to the inevitable arguments, but before I got too far into this, I thought – surely the best thing is to split up if you’re not getting on? You can’t live your life just getting by on habit, but even before ruptions begin, Adam’s picking holes in the fact that she’s wearing leggings… Basically, he’s being controlling.
As it goes on, it starts to feel like a toxic relationship, but without knowing who’s to blame, or is their fault on both sides?
The way this is directed, the camera stays on one half of the couple for a time, before moving to the other, regardless of who’s speaking, so over the course of a conversation, it captures their facial expressions both while talking, and while listening. Meanwhile, every other relationship you come across seems like they’re all living the perfect life, particularly when you go round to their house.
This reminds me of when I was in a particular relationship for a few years and you get to a point where you’re wondering if you should take a break (ooh, very Ross & Rachel!), or if you should really be going your separate ways as you both want different things in life. In my case, we split up, and I know we’re both better off for it.
So, how does it work out for this pair? Well, that’s what you’ll only find out by watching it. You ain’t getting any spoilers from me! Besides, this is well-written, well-directed and well-acted, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you skipped it and just expected someone to tell you the plot.
Overall, I Am Nicola is a great start to this series and I’m very much looking forward to the other two, I Am Kirsty – starring Samantha Morton (Minority Report), on next Tuesday; and I Am Hannah – starring Gemma Chan (Humans), the following Tuesday.
Also, putting all of these separate stories under one banner – I Am – gives it a Play For Today-type feel. Given that that series ran from two years before I was born until I was 12, naturally I didn’t watch any of them at the time – especially when there were Atari 2600 games to be played once that was released, but there’s been similar dramas over the years, so if I was the age then that I am now, I would certainly have been watching them. However, the point is that while this is just a three-part run right now, I can forsee more series coming in future.
I Am Nicola is on tonight on Channel 4 at 10pm. The series is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but you can watch each episode on All 4 for 30 days after transmission.
Director: Dominic Savage
Producer: Krishnendu Majumdar
Writer: Dominic Savage
Nicola: Vicky McClure
Adam: Perry Fitzpatrick
Ava: Leanne Best
Barry: Sam Spruell
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.