Nolly – The DVDfever Review – ITV drama – Helena Bonham Carter

Nolly Nolly is ITV’s 3-part drama based around TV icon Noele Gordon (played here by Helena Bonham-CarterThe Crown), who ruled the motel in ITV soap opera Crossroads, until the producers had a change of gear for what was to follow, which would involve sacking her and paving the way for new blood. Trouble is, when a soap has been going for a long time, if you make drastic changes, you risk losing a large portion of your key audience who’ve followed someone that’s a big star for a long time.

To get that across in this dramatisation, there are additional segments featuring how, in 1938, Ms Gordon was the first woman on television, and how in 1975, 10,000 fans of hers turned out to watch her character, Meg Mortimer, get married as part of the show.

But, in fast-forwarding to 1981, while she seems very down to Earth, she was also quite bossy, demanding changes to the script and character positions on-set during rehearsals. That said, if we’re to believe ever last thing that happens onscreen, Nolly, herself, comes across as more self-assured than she really was – claiming never to read a script until rehearsals begin, although scenes shot inside her own home tell a different story, as she does her due dilligence wit them.

It’s understandable that Noele won’t take it lying down when the bigwigs in charge want to kill her character off, and while Noele Gordon declared herself as the queen of soap operas, Ms Bonham-Carter is certainly on top form here.

The Meg Mortimer days of Crossroads were before my time, as I mostly just saw occasional mid-to-late ’80s episodes with Adam Chance and ‘Miss Diane’, but it’s interesting to see how they would film the show ‘as live’, so any mistakes made would be kept in the final cut.

And what else I remember is that Adam Chance (played by Tony Adams in the soap, with the actor portrayed here by Augustus PrewHigh-Rise) was such a smoothy, while actress Susan Hanson, as Diane Lawton, as a major MILF at the time. Here, Ms Hanson is brilliantly portrayed by Chloe Harris (The Long Shadow).

So far, despite it having been on ITVX for some time, I’ve only got round to watching it when it reached ITV, and from start to finish, it is brilliant, and it shows that Russell T Davies really should stay far away from a show like Doctor Who, because he can’t write sci-fi to save his life.

It would be nice to see Helena Bonham Carter nominated for a BAFTA TV award, and there’s also a neat couple of cameos…

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Nolly continues tomorrow on ITV at 9pm, and concludes on Friday. It’s already online at ITVX, but is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.

Nolly – Official Trailer – ITV

Director: Peter Hoar
Producer: Karen Lewis
Writer: Russell T Davies
Music: Blair Mowat

Noele Gordon: Helena Bonham Carter
Jack Barton: Con O’Neill
Tony Adams: Augustus Prew
Jane Rossington: Antonia Bernath
Poppy Ngomo: Bethany Antonia
Ronnie Allen: Richard Lintern
Sue Lloyd: Clare Foster
Susan Hanson: Chloe Harris
Michael Summerton: Max Brown
Liz: Amy Booth-Steel
Young Noele Gordon: Silvia Presente
Paul Henry: Lloyd Griffith
Keith (Floor Manager): Dan Hagley
John Logie Baird: John Mackay
Rodney (Director): Tom Bell
Harold Macmillan: Nicholas Gecks
Jimmy Tarbuck: Matthew Crosby
Fiona Fullerton: Emily Butcher
Charles Denton: Tim Wallers
Larry Grayson: Mark Gatiss
Roger Redfarn: Adam Morris
Real Susan Hanson: Susan Hanson