TV review: Trigonometry is certainly different and that can only be welcomed at the moment

Adriane Labed plays Ray in Trigonometry. (C) House Productions - Photographer: Mark Johnson
Billy Foley

Trigonometry, BBC 2, Sunday at 10pm

Now that almost all of us are coming to grips with the idea of long days at home, thoughts have turned to how to spend our evenings.

BBC soaps may be taking a break but there remains a whole world of drama available on terrestrial television, digital services and the ubiquitous Netflix.

Two very different dramas began this week and if Belgravia wasn't your thing, there was something very different and interesting on BBC2.

Trigonometry tells the story of a cash-strapped couple in London who take in a lodger. Ray, a Frenchwoman, moves in with Gemma and Kieran.

Because it's London and one of the world's great melting pots, no background explanations appear to be required.

No one refers to Ray as French or asks why she is in London. We learn that her dad is English, her mum French and that at 30 she has just moved out of her parents' home somewhere in England.

Kieran is a paramedic who appears to get regularly attacked by his patients and may have previously been a soldier in Iraq. Gemma is attempting to open a coffee shop underneath the flat but on a very limited budget.

Gemma used to be a lesbian, or remains bi-sexual. It isn't clear, but she is certainly attracted to Ray. Kieran seeks re-assurance from Gemma that she has put her woman loving days behind her, but he too seems to have a spark with Ray.

The story beings with a synchronised swimming contest which goes wrong. As a team perform their elaborate manoeuvres, one woman is kicked in the head and temporarily knocked out. In the intensity of the competition is takes a minute for a rest of the team to realise what has happened.

We later learn from Ray's parent that she had previously competed in the Olympics but it is not clear if she was the kicker or the kick receiver.

Either way, she has abandoned sport, is angry that she missed out on her childhood and twenties because of the rigours of practice and competition and now wants to live life to the full.

It's fairly obvious where this living life to the full business is going, but at least it's something out of the ordinary and that can only be welcomed at the moment.


Belgravia, UTV, Sunday at 9pm

The Downton sequel launched this week.

Belgravia may be the story of the development of London's rich zone, but the story begins in Brussels in 1815 on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo and and the oncoming dominance of the British empire.

The reign of Queen Victoria is but a couple of decades away and British society is already changing.

As ever, writer Julian Fellowes is interested in class and Belgravia considers the clash between the noveau riche trading class of the industrial revolution and the landowning gentry.

Obviously our heroes are the upstarts. Sophia is the daughter of merchant James Trenchard, a former market stall owner and his wife Anne, the daughter of a school master.

The Trenchards have done spectacularly well but success and money does not bring them acceptance in high society.

Sophie is in love with the son of a duke, but her mother knows the relationship has no future.

We quickly jump forward to 1841 London, the industrial revolution is at its height and matters have already changed. The Trenchards are becoming established, but both Sophia and her dashing beau are dead.

And so it begins, six weeks of period drama almost 100 years prior to the Downton events. Perhaps we can call it a prequel.

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