Truelove – The DVDfever Review – Channel 4 – Lindsay Duncan, Clarke Peters

Truelove Truelove deals with the very dark subject of death, and when knowing you have a terminal illness and – understandably – want to choose your own time to shuffle off your mortal coil, it should be your choice.

At the time of posting this review, the first episode has aired, but I’ll still avoid spoilers beyond what’s in the initial premise.

Spurred on by the recent death of their friend Dennis, who the vicar kept referring to in the eulogy as “Den” (unless it was Den Dennis from The Comic Strip’s Bad News, played by Nigel Planer… nah, maybe not), ex-cop Phil (Lindsay Duncan) meets old flame – and SAS veteran – Ken (Clarke Peters) after 15-20 years, heading off for a drink and reminisce, along with other friends from their group, David (Peter Egan), Marion (Sue Johnston) and Tom (Karl Johnson), discussing the indignities in life, with Phil declaring of Dennis’ sad demise, “If I get like that, take me out the back and shoot me(!)”, to which Tom replies, “What are friends for(?)”

The title comes from the combined feeling ‘Three Musketeers‘-type feeling, “One for all and all for one”, so if one gets the worst news possible, the others will help out in ways that could send them to jail.

For everyone involved life has hit yet another bump in the road, as they’ve all reached their 70s, with Phil being in a stale marriage to Nigel (Phil Davis in a non-shouty role, for a change), while Ken is single and rather estranged from his son and his family, to the point where he clearly feels ostracised, as there’s just him and his dog.

Meanwhile, Nigel wants his wife to consider downsizing to a bungalow, to give their daughter and her children a better chance to get up the property ladder, although while Phil is far from in the right place to give up her long-term family home, in most places of the UK, the odds of finding an available bungalow are actually pretty slim, so I’d love to know who Nigel’s estate agent is!

Still, 8 months later, and Phil gets a postcard about the next person who’ll be due to pass away, but who will it be and can they go ahead with it? Well, the trailer gives the first part of that away, but what we have in this series opener is a very tough but solid watch, with a fantastic collection of great acting talent, some of whom hit hard in this first episode, while you can tell others have yet to play their cards in the ones that will follow, and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of it.

Just one snag: For Truelove, it’s just one episode at a time, and when they’re broadcast… like the “good ol’ days”, and these air every Wednesday and Thursday.

However, despite the dark moments, there was time for a bit levity when Phil was stopped and breathalysed by a much younger member of the police force, who couldn’t even identify what a ‘Panda car’ was. Okay, I get that they were young, but any cop would’ve heard of those.

At the time of this episode going live, I have also seen the second one. Obviously, no spoilers, so all I can say is that it carries on the story superbly, and I’ll be interested to see how this all pans out.

UPDATE: After episodes 3 and 4, the final two were available on All4, and having watched the whole series, I did thoroughly enjoy most of it, but for the last two, it did go a bit ‘batshit mental’, in terms of certain characters’ reactions, when it didn’t need to. When you see those moments, you’ll know, but no spoilers here.

Truelove continues tomorrow on Channel 4 at 9pm, and continues weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Episodes aired so far will be on All 4.

The series is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.

Truelove – Official Trailer – Channel 4

Series Directors: Chloe Wicks, Carl Tibbetts
Producer: Alex Walsh-Taylor
Creators: Charlie Covell, Iain Weatherby
Series Writers: Cherish Shirley, Charlie Covell, Iain Weatherby
Music: Adam Janota Bzowski

Phil: Lindsay Duncan
Ken: Clarke Peters
Kate: Fiona Button
Nigel: Phil Davis
David: Peter Egan
Tom: Karl Johnson
Marion: Sue Johnston
Ayesha: Kiran Sonia Sawar
Belinda: Zee Asha
Shirley: Alison Fitzjohn
Barbara: Kate Rutter
PC Harding: Andrea Valls
Alexandra: Isabelle Pratt
Albert: Isaac Vincent-Norgate
Sgt Stone: Deka Walmsley
Desmond: Tristan Sturrock
Jean: Sandra James-Young
Alexandra: Isabelle Pratt
Superintendent Ruth Evans: Lindsay Bennett-Thompson