Two Thousand Streets under the Sky tells the story of three young people, who's lives collide in the Midnight Bell pub. Ella and Bob live and work there, Jenny occassionally drinks there. It is a sad tale indeed. Bob is an aspiring author, working as a waiter in the pub. He falls for Jenny, a prostitute with a fondness for drink, on sight, and expends all his savings on a relentless and fruitless attempt to rescue her from her existence. Ella is in love with Bob, but he either doesn't, or doesn't want to, notice. The story of each of the three main protagonists is told from each perspective; the first focusses on Bob's pursuit of Jenny. The second tells how, in the degradation of one fateful night, Jenny went from being a seemingly hardworking, decent girl, albeit in a lowly job, to life as a lush, a thief and a prostitute. The trilogy ends with Ella's story. I found this the most affecting of the three tales. Ella is a modest, unassuming girl who works as a barmaid at the Midnight Bell. Her quiet longing for Bob is painful to watch. She is, in turn, pursued by the wealthy, and much older, Ernest Eccles, who is a regular in the bar. Phil Davis gives a great performance in this role. Mr Eccles is vain, a bore and plain cringeworthy. Nevertheless, Phil Davis is so accomplished in the role that you do feel the odd stab of sympathy for this lonely man. Sally Hawkins as Ella, puts in a particularly moving performance as she attempts to avoid an engagement to Mr Eccles and tries to retain her dignity in a life which seems to consist of a series of chronic disappointments. The acting from all three main characters is impeccable.
These stories are set in a highly evocative context which conjures up the thirties beautifully, drab rooms, pubs and clothes capturing the daily grind of life for ordinary people just trying to get by. The only relief being the odd trip to the pictures or a Lyons tea room and the largely vain hope of something better.
This is a drama of outstanding quality. However, if you are a fan of happy ending, Downton Abbey type period dramas, this may not be for you. It is a real life, rather than, feel good drama.