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All six episodes of the experimental BBC drama, set in the Lancashire resort town and using fantasy sequences and musical numbers to tell the story. Ripley Holden (David Morrissey) is a disreputable entrepreneur who decides to open an arcade in his home town as the start of a business empire that he hopes will turn Blackpool into the Las Vegas of Lancashire. Already driven to distraction by his eccentric family, Ripley is then involved in a murder investigation after a body is found in his new arade. As Detective Inspector Peter Carlisle (David Tennant) investigates, Ripley has to maintain a tenuous hold on his professional and personal life.
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I must admit at first I was very cautios about watching this kind of drama. Although I’m a fan of well made musicals and 99% of great BBC programme, this particular drama has managed to surprise me. Very pleasantly indeed.
What to say about this gem?
First of all, I don’t think that people who never watched a musical in their life, will be left bored or disappointed. In fact I find this drama a perfect foray for them into the world of musical programme.
Another thing I’d like to point out is that this is not your typical musical—and the musical part should be considered just as an occasional break or commical relief from the serious, dramatic parts.
When I say not your typical musical—I mean there is no original just-for-movie/series-made music, like let’s say from "Moulin Rouge", which is in some aspects similar to this. That being the fact that the popular music was incorporated into the story. The real difference here is that the actors don’t sing the way the do in MR. In "Moulin Rouge" you hear their voices and the music accompanies them.
In this piece you hear the music, watch the actors dance and play but basically sing along with the original songs and their performers (exception being the male/female Gabrielle impersonator). There are parts where they just start humming along or suddenly cut in along with the original singers.
It’s sort of like watching musical videos.
Why the comparison with Moulin Rouge?
Well it’s colorful, flashy in some parts and dark and dramatic in others. There’s seriousness added with murder and the police investigation and then there’s fun and comedy, mixed with musical numbers and dancing. And let’s not forget like in "Moulin Rouge", it’s also a love story but with a happier ending.
To put it into equation—80% DRAMA + 20% MUSIC = FUN
The characters are very colorful, emotional, funny, sarcastic and also very lovable.
From Ripley Holden, played brilliantly by David Morissey to Natalie Holden—exeptional Sarah Parish, their not so perfect children Danny and Shayanne, Ripley’s business partners, employees and let’s not forget the fantasticaly quirky but lovable DI Peter Carlisle who adds much to the fun part of the story, as well as to its seriousness.
Feauturing the music from the eighties as well as some modern hits. The choriography is brilliant and the music goes well with the story.
I have already seen it several times and each time it gets better and better.
Looking for the extras you won’t find interviews, outtakes or deletes scenes but a separate place to find all those exeptional musical numbers.
Well done BBC! Here’s hoping to see more of these kind of dramas in the future.
I only rented this because I wasn't sure, from what I had read, what I would make of it.
Now I've added it to my wishlist!
It's a bit of an odd concept - gritty northern drama meets musical meets murder investigation meets comedy - but it's very very well done, with a brilliant cast.
Morrissey is, as someone else has said, born to play this role; sleazy but compelling, by halfway through the first episode I very much wanted to see how he would turn out. A performance that makes what could have been a bit of a one-trick-pony character into a complex and interesting man, for whom, in spite of everything, one still has compassion. An outstanding performance.
Parish and Tennant are the heart of the drama, at turns heartbreaking, beautiful, and sexually charged.
Tennant in particular shines as the disciplined policeman falling into potential corruption and having his life turned upside down. Fascinating performance to watch and impossible to take your eyes off him in so many scenes. Compelling.
All the supporting cast are strong, down to workers at the amusement arcade, Ripley's family, the religious "nut" outside the front door (fantastic - better known as Filch in the Harry Potter movies but a brilliant cameo in this role) and, possibly a personal favourite, DCI Carlisle's (Tennant) sidekick Blythe.
Impeccable. Watch it.
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