Soldiering On is the third of 12 episodes based on the original Alan Bennett scripts, but with new actors.
It begins with Muriel (Harriet Walter – The End) stating that 3pm is a funny time of day. It’s too late for lunch, but also too early for tea. Well, the answer is tea and biscuits, of course? That’s always my solution!
She recounts the many different acquantancies of her late husband who attended his wake, after the funeral. The beauty of Alan Bennett‘s writing is that we’re not even told there’s been a funeral, only that her husband has died, but instantly, we’re drawn into this world.
Along the way, she talks about how she’d quite like to go abroad to Siena, but… forgetting that she now has no-one to go with. Okay, she could go on her own. It’s a bit of a pain to get out there, but once you do, your time is your own to wander about and take in all the sites.
Despite being left comfortably well off, the advice she’s receiving is not to take any big decisions, and instead to throw yourself into a big project. However, after signing some papers that her son, Giles, shoves her way, soon after there’s a “liquidity problem” following the will…
Again, this is another episode with a super performance from the sole voice onscreen, and with life not going to plan as events reveal themselves, you do get the pained expression in her face as if life has taken a wrong turn when she wasn’t looking.
Soldiering On: Talking Heads is on BBC1 on Thursday June 24th at 7.25pm, so they’re rather shoving these around the schedules at random, rather than giving them a specific weekly place as they did with the first two episodes. 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.
From Tuesday June 23rd, the entire series will be on the BBC iPlayer.
Director: Marianne Elliott
Writer: Alan Bennett
Muriel: Harriet Walter
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.