The Children [DVD]
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“The Children may be the best drama serial ITV has come up with in months” --The Times
The disturbing ITV drama series starring Kevin Whately, Lesley Sharp and Geraldine Somerville.
Cameron and Sue are starting again after the break down of their first marriages. Together, with Sue’s seven year old daughter Emily – they aim to build a new happy family.
It’s not going to be easy. Cameron has a troubled fourteen year old son, Jack, whose now single mother Anne wants her youth back. Finding it difficult to cope with his mother’s party lifestyle and stay on the rails himself, Jack is persuaded to join his dad’s new family.
Meanwhile Emily’s dad, ambitious radio presenter Paul has a new baby with younger partner Natasha and his loyalties are torn between this new responsibility and his career, with little attention left for his daughter.
As tensions mount and relationships, both new and old, become fraught, it’s clear that some wounds may be too difficult to heal – but none of the adults can foretell the horrific consequences of their own search for happiness…
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Little Emily is eight years old and lives with her mother,whilst her father, a self absorbed disc jockey, is living with a younger woman who has just given birth to their first child. Emily's mother has begun a live in relationship with her new man,(Kevin Whateley) who has a son around 14 years old. Whateley's ex-wife,(played brilliantly by Lesley Sharp) is a vain,selfish woman, torn apart by jealousy and too much alchohol.
When Whateley's ex kicks her son out of their home, Whateley takes him in to his new home, with disastrous consequences.
The Children is not an easy series to watch. We see parents trying to please new partners, neglecting their children in the process. All of this is clothed in an aura of insecurity,insincerity, with the two children trying desperately to fit into an ever changing landsape, of new homes,new rules,new people.
Then they watch with growing fear,trepidation, and alarm as their position within these brittle relationships is gradually whittled away.
Emily tells her mother that Jack comes into her room while she's asleep, and when that little tit-bit doesn't get the desired reaction from her mother and Jack's father, she ups the ante to rape.
Kevin Whateley (as Jack's dad) doesn't believe her for one moment, but is forced into damage control when Emily's mother wants to get the police involved. So he and Jack move to a hotel - Jack's mother doesn't want them camping on her doorstep - where Whateley blames his son for their predicament.
One of the most moving, poignant moments in The Children, is when Jack weeps and tells his girlfriend he has nowhere to go,no-one wants him.
Then someone confronts Emily in her own backyard at home, and after back handing her, she falls backwards through a glass window and dies. We see a series of confrontations between Emily and her parents, step parents, and Jack and friend Mary.
Only one of these really happened,so it's our job to work out Who Done It.
The Children was written by Lucy Gannon, one of the better writers of television in the UK, so we were in good hands. Highly recommended.
The acting is superb, and the story was going places, but it all soon feels rushed and the little girl becomes very irritating, and it reaches the point where you're not really bothered who killed her, why or what their motive was.
And if like me, you tuned in for 3 weeks to ITV, I should imagine you were fairly dissapointed with the outcome of the series. Dissapointing.