Life (2020) – The DVDfever Review – Alison Steadman, Peter Davison

Life 2020 Life 2020 is… called Life, but in the world of website SEO, too many titles with the same name doesn’t help, and there are so many films and TV series called this. Can’t they think of anything original?

In fact, if you try to search for ‘Life’ on the iPlayer, you get a David Attenborough documentary. Why do they need to make things so complicated?

Anyhoo, for those who are considering it, it’s a series which, on the face of it, looks like “Tuesday night prime time TV for women, so all men may as well go down the pub”. However, it’s set in Manchester which does at give me a reason to watch it. 2019’s Years And Years was another such series. That came from Russell T Davies, and some people think the sun shines out of his backside, but they clearly haven’t realised just how much of a mess he made of Doctor Who.

That said, this comes from the makers of Doctor Foster, and similar to that drama’s opener, Gail Reynolds (Alison Steadman) is driving whilst using her mobile phone via earpieces. I know that such hands-free devices are legal, but I still hate their use as they take a driver’s concentration from the road. Damn, I hate people who do that. There’s no reason why you need to take a call at any point while driving, but as you’ll see, it leads to a chance encounter with former schoolfriend Dawn (Buffy Davis).

Most of the people who come across each other all live in the same block of flats. Saira (Saira Choudhry) is one such person, and as she knocks on David’s (Adrian Lester) door, and makes it clear she fancies him, naturally, as much as he pretends to not make it look like he returns the compliment, it’s obvious to even a dead man that he can’t deny it… and even though he’s meant to be seeing Kelly (Rachael Stirling). Oh, what a tangled web we weave!

Meanwhile, Hannah (Melissa Johns) is pregnant by Andy (Calvin Demba), yet is now dating Liam (Joshua James). So, with an interacial relationship, and Hannah having one arm truncated at the elbow, it does feel like writer Mike Bartlett is into ticking diversity boxes more than he is writing a decent script.

Belle Stone (Victoria Hamilton) has a daughter, Ruth (Susannah Fielding), whose daughter, Maya (Erin Kellyman), screams and shouts like a typical teenager; and just as I wrote that, said stroppy teenager storms into Belle’s house in order to take up residence because she’s fallen out with her mum.

In fact, it got so tedious around halfway through that while Dawn and Gail were having a conversation in St Peter’s Square, although I heard what was being said, I was concentrating more on the background with the tram stop, and how they’d clearly arranged it so that the trams didn’t move during the time of their filming. That way, it provided a focus point for the background AND they didn’t make any tooting sounds as they set off… plus, since filming often requires retakes, the trams would’ve been there one moment, then gone, and then back again, so continuity would’ve gone out the window.

In this series, revelations will be revealed and family secrets are no longer secret, but as for what these are, there’s only one way to find out, and that’s by watching it. Yes, even though this wasn’t for me, it would be a total dick move. So, I’ll just enjoy the scenery if nothing else.

One thing I can say is that Gail has a big birthday bash with lots of family and friends present – Hey, do you remember the days when more than six people were allowed in a room at the same time?

Still, at least this drama hasn’t fallen for Doctor Foster’s use of a 2.35:1 widescreen ratio which rarely suits TV drama.

Oh, and for those wondering about the end credits music, it’s Keep Your Head Up by Ben Howard.

Life 2020 begins tonight on BBC1 at 9pm. The series isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.

After tonight’s broadcast, you can watch the entire series on the BBC iPlayer.

Life 2020 – Official Trailer – BBC

Episode 1 Score: 1/10

Director: Kate Hewitt
Producer: Kate Crowther
Writer: Mike Bartlett
Music: Paul Saunderson

Gail Reynolds: Alison Steadman
Henry Reynolds: Peter Davison
Belle Stone: Victoria Hamilton
David Aston: Adrian Lester
Kelly Aston: Rachael Stirling
Saira Malik: Saira Choudhry
Andy Okonkwo: Calvin Demba
Liam Banner: Joshua James
Hannah Taylor: Melissa Johns
Dominic: Karl Theobald
Dawn: Buffy Davis
Maya Stone: Erin Kellyman
Ruth Stone: Susannah Fielding
Sales Assistant: Lisa Whiteside
Guy: Kirk Lake
Jan: Christina Tam
Jonathan: Geoffrey Streatfield
Rachel: Kate Ashfield
Student: Chloe Aridjis
Angela: Kika Markham
Robert: David Troughton
Chris: Luke Mullins
Kyle: Marvyn Dickinson
Paramedic: Philip Abiodun
May: Olwen May
Neil Baker: Adam James
Kat: Robyn Cara
Esther: Caroline O’Hara
Helen: Elaine Paige
Peter The Priest: Simon Bubb
Kyle: Marvyn Dickinson
Justin: Marc Geoffrey
Kay: Olivia Carruthers
Maggie: Chris Kerry
Guy: Kirk Lake