Ordinary Lies last night broadcast its first episode in this new drama series, from writer Danny Brocklehurst (Clocking Off, Shameless, The Driver), following in the footsteps of Clocking Off where each episode revolves around a particular member of staff within a single workplace.
The first one centered on Marty (Jason Manford), a car salesman at JS Motors, who’s failing to meet his targets and also failing to get up on time in the morning, sneaking into work late so often that his boss, Mike (Max Beesley) is now giving him a final warning. So when he’s up late again the very next day and has no excuse other than being out on the lash the night before, he bumbles into the excuse that… his wife, Katrina (Erin Shanagher), has died.
Of course, he was going to come unstuck in the end, not least because his wife was very much alive and well. It was only a matter of time before one of his colleagues sussed him out.
A simple premise relies on a good cast to bring it together and that’s what we had here, most of which was a “Who’s who” of soap opera stars from Coronation Street (Michelle Keegan, Sally Lindsay) and Eastenders (Jo Joyner, failing to ask anyone how “Adam” was) with support from Mackenzie Crook (The Office, Dectorists, Pirates of the Caribbean) and Max Beesley (Mad Dogs, Survivors, and… er… Surf Potatoes).
The ‘newbie’ to the screen, so to speak, was comedian Jason Manford (above). Personally, he doesn’t make me laugh, but sometimes comedians who don’t make me laugh, instead turn out alright in the drama department, and he equipped himself well, here. A previous example of this is Lenny Henry, who hasn’t been funny since the ’80s ended, but I enjoyed his performances in the TV series Hope & Glory, where he played bolshy school headmaster Ian George, and one-off TV drama from 1991, Alive and Kicking. Whoever next to change my mind about them – Michael McIntyre??
Oh, and I’ve expressed my views online elsewhere before about my not liking Jason Manford’s brand of comedy, and he knows my opinion as we kinda had a to-do, once, on Facebook. He couldn’t understand that while he didn’t make me laugh, his brother Colin made me laugh loads. Viewers may have seen Colin Manford on the AO.com adverts , as Dave.
Finally, While Marty’s story played out, we were also teased with potential full-episode storylines for the characters played by Messrs Beesley, Joyner, Lindsay, Crook and the ‘next time’ clip at the end showed that episode 2 will centre around Tracy (Michelle Keegan).
Oh, and full credit also to Rebecca Callard, below, as Grace. Redheads are awesome, and her stunning eyes could pierce through time.
Ordinary Lies is nothing revolutionary, but passed an hour of gentle entertainment, and was better than the majority of evening BBC dramas which are, clearly, primarily aimed at women.
Check out the BBC1 launch trailer.
Ordinary Lies continues next Tuesday on BBC1 at 9pm, and is available to pre-order on DVD and is released on May 4th., and click on the above cast image the full-size version.
Director: John McKay
Producer: Tom Sherry
Writer: Danny Brocklehurst
Music: Solomon Grey
Executive Producers: Nicola Shindler and Danny Brocklehurst
Mike: Max Beesley
Beth Cobin: Jo Joyner
Marty McLean: Jason Manford
Tracy: Michelle Keegan
Paracetamol Pete: Mackenzie Crook
Kathy: Sally Lindsay
Fat Jason: George Bukhari
Grace: Rebecca Callard
Marianne: Manjinder Virk
Emma: Cat Simmons
Viv: Cherrelle Skeete
Ziggy: Fisayo Akinade
Rick: Shazad Latif
Jez: Kristopher Mochrie
Katrina McLean: Erin Shanagher
Jake: Xander Rundle
Joe: Kamerson Cowan
Jessie: Bethany Thompson
Young Lad: Theo Graham
Postman Phil: Zariah Bailey
George Hagan: Jeff Alexander
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.