Life

TV review: Come Home is drama worth watching

Liam (Anthony Boyle), Molly (Darcey McNeeley), Greg (Christopher Eccleston) and Laura (Lola Pettigrew) - (C) Red Productions Limited - Photographer: Steffan Hill
Billy Foley

Come Home, BBC 1, Tuesday at 9pm

New BBC drama, Come Home, has the immediate advantage that it is tackling a new subject.

So much television drama draws from the narrow cofines of crime that it's welcome to be offered something different.

Come Home deals with the aftermath of a mother abandoning her husband and three children. Initially we are unsure why she left as we see the devastation left behind as her husband Greg (Christopher Eccleston) tries to cope.

His youngest daughter Molly (Darcey McNeeley) walks up in the middle of the night crying for her mother and teenager son, Liam (Anthony Boyle) has developed a tick caused by stress.

Greg, a mechanic, oscillates between rage at his wife, longing for her return and confusion at his situation.

On his emotional roller-coaster he manages to unwisely involve himself with a new woman who is being assaulted by her husband.

He knows Brenna (Kerri Quinn) because she arrives at his work to sell sandwiches from her van and they strike up a relationship after he rescues her from a beating in a pub toilet.

Before long Brenna and her young son David are living with Greg and his family after the husband threatens to assault her once more.

But Greg may not be the hero he seems. Towards the end of episode one he breaks into his wife Marie's house (Paula Malcomson) and tries to hide in the bathroom when she returns home unexpectedly with her friend.

Thus far all we've had from Marie was the defence that “there were reasons” when challenged as to why she left. Even during clandestine meetings with her teenager daughter Laura (Lola Petticrew) there was no explanation.

The only clue we get is in a Greg flashback when he reacts angrily to Marie who has a pregnancy test stick in her hand.

But next week we are to see the story from Marie's side when undoubtedly our connection with Greg will be tested.

Come Home, which is set in Belfast, explores the interesting territory as to why society feels differently when a mother flees her children rather than a father. Or in the common parlance, where a mother ‘abandons' her children, an event which is obviously much rarer than a father leaving his family.

Not that the man doesn't suffer in this situation too. On a blind date Greg notes that after telling his date why he is single, she is probably thinking what kind of an ogre he must be, that a woman has left her children because of him.

A promising start.

**

RAF at 100 with Ewan and Colin McGregor, BBC 1, Sunday at 9pm

When Ewan McGregor hurtles along at 1,000 mph in the RAF's latest Typhoon jet is seems a remarkable 100 years in since the foundation of the RAF.

McGregor, who has a love of all things with an engine, was our guide for this tour from the very first planes, through the first world war, the mass air combat of the second world war, the nuclear age and today's superjets.

Along the way we met the last survivor of the Battle of Britain. Geoffrey Wellum was one of the few Churchill lauded in a famous Westminster speech

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few,” said the Tory prime minister.

Wellum had a less poetic attitude, recalling getting in the sky as an 18-year-old pilot and facing 150 enemy planes.

“I remember thinking ‘good God, where do I start with this lot?”

It was a fantastic watch and well worth 90 minutes of your time on the iPlayer.

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