CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Our Girl’s Kabul kit… make-up as thick as a bulletproof vest!
Our Girl (BBC One)
Back in Time for the Corner Shop (BBC Two)
Gone Girl returned to our screens on Tuesday night, but Christopher Stevens was underwhelmed with the episode, giving it two stars
Danny La Rue wore less slap in his drag act than Michelle Keegan does as Army medic Georgie Lane in Our Girl (BBC1) when she goes into action.
The foundation on her face is thicker than a Kevlar bulletproof vest. She even sleeps in full lip gloss and mascara.
Yet the squaddies in her platoon are oblivious of the trouble she goes to with her make-up, or the hours she must spend applying her face. To them, she’s just one of the ‘lumpy jumper’ brigade — women in uniform.
Honestly, they don’t deserve her.
As the show returned for a fifth series, Georgie was in peril. A suicide bomber on the streets of Kabul had targeted her unit’s armoured truck, which was now upside – down. Georgie hung motionless by her webbing straps.
At long last her eyes flickered. She blinked and thank goodness, we saw .. . that her false eyelashes were undamaged. Why Georgie must be such a glamourpuss is a mystery.
Our Girl is to be commended as one of the few primetime dramas with working class characters at its heart.
None of the families has an open-plan kitchen-diner the size of a five-a-side football pitch in this show, or walk-in wardrobes with floor-to-ceiling shoe racks.
Georgie’s home life is strictly Formica worktops and leatherette sofas. You won’t see furnishings like that in well-heeled dramas such as The Nest or The Trouble With Maggie Cole. Toffs are regarded with suspicion in Our Girl.
Officers are all public school ‘Ruperts’: Georgie’s new commanding officer practises his trumpet daily and challenges troops to ‘name that tune’ — usually one plucked from the operas of Verdi.
It’s a cartoon version of the Army, but at least Georgie has grown and changed since the show started in 2013. When we first met her she was naïve and over-eager, always blundering into danger through lack of battlefield experience.
Now she’s an old hand, back in Afghanistan to help oversee training at the £75million Afghan National Army Officer Academy, aka Sandhurst-in-the-Sand. She is also mentoring the new medic, Mimi (Amy-Leigh Hickman), who tries hard but hasn’t really mastered the trick of inch-thick blusher. Mimi has fallen for the platoon’s brainbox, known to all as Prof (Nico Mirallegro) — a history teacher who joined up to escape the pain of a broken heart. Mimi’s got some medicine for that.
Presenter Sara Cox was fondly remembering her working class roots, on Back In Time For The Corner Shop (BBC2). In 1981 when she was seven years old, she said, her gran used to send her to the tobacconist’s with a note, to collect her ciggies. I bet she wore clogs and used a bundle of rags for a football, too.
You can’t blame Sara for getting a bit nostalgic, when this episode traded so heavily on the recent past.
The Ardern family running this Sheffield grocery store were whisked back to the Eighties, with Panda colas in the fridge, and Abbey Crunch biscuits on the shelves. Snickers bars were still called Marathons (and tasted better for it).
People had sugar on their cornflakes and sugar in their tea, yet, strangely, were very much less obese. As the years ticked by, the shop began selling phone cards (I’d completely forgotten about those).
The Arderns’ teenage children went to the phone box, to dial the ‘Pop line’ and listen to choices from the charts down the line.
Thirty years later, kids are still listening to music that way…while watching videos on the smartphone screen, too. What a vivid illustration of how fast the world has changed.