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A kind of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ for the 2010s, with added lesbians
on 5 March 2015
This is a kind of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ for the 2010s, with added lesbians and more female characters generally, as befits our more socially liberal age.
It is written by Sally Wainwright and stars (among others) Sarah Lancashire, the two of whom also collaborated on the good but much bleaker and Yorkshire-set, crime drama ‘Happy Valley’.
The title of this programme ‘The Last Tango in Halifax’ rather tells you what to expect.
Adapting the title of the controversial 1972 erotic film ‘The last Tango in Paris’ by substituting Halifax in West Yorkshire for the chic city of Paris, you can guess that this programme thinks itself slightly more funny and clever than actually it is, substituting the love lives of elderly and middle-aged Yorkshire couples for the grand passion of Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider in the original film.
This is not to say that this is not a good programme.
After the slightly disappointing first couple of episodes this Season builds to be an interesting and reasonably affectionate look at the late-flowering romances of Yorkshire provincial town and rural folk, with generally good characters and good actors. Roni Ancona is good in a relatively small part as the unstable Judith, as is Nicola Walker as Gillian; Anne Reid’s character Celia seems more of a silly stereotype and annoying at times.
Unfortunately there are no DVD extras, although it would be really good to have even short interviews with the main actors to compare what they are like when not ‘in character’. As the story is supposed to be partly based on her own family, it would also be good to have had the writer Sally Wainwright explain what is autobiographical, what she changed, and why.