Monday, 11 October 2010


[6.52 - French Time] Single Father, David Tennant's post-Doctor Who new drama, premiered yesterday on BBC One.

Every now and then someone risks a comparison between UK television dramas and what is done in the US, generally chanting the glory of HBO's The Wire as a mantra. After ITV's Collision and The Silence (aired this summer on BBC One), Single Father proves one more time - if needed - those who affirm that the British television industry should only kneel before David Simon's creation are dead wrong.

It seems like an ordinary day for Dave (David Tennant), a photographer and the loving husband of Rita (Laura Fraser). He is also a good dad to their three kids and an excellent stepfather to Lucy (Natasha Watson), Rita's 15-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. But things will never be ordinary again for Dave and his family: Rita dies in a tragic traffic accident. Everybody tries to cope the best he/she can and things get even more complicated when Dave falls in love with his wife's best friend, Sarah (Suranne Jones).

« I love you too! » (Dave)

You need a good deal of courage and a whole container of paper tissues to enter into Dave's emotional journey through the tragedy. But the first hour of this single father's new life worths the effort and writer Mick Ford's four-part relationship drama is both moving and refreshing. The perfect return in a TV drama for David Tennant's tremendous talent and extraordinary versatility.

Everybody plays Ford's words in the right tone, from the adults to the kids, under the inspired direction of Sam Miller and with the music of Murray Gold. It's rather fortunate that Rex is Not your Lawyer, the legal drama pilot shot by Tennant in the US, failed to be picked up by NBC. Apparently the far-fetched premise of a top Chicago attorney who suffers panic attacks and coaches clients to represent themselves in court was poorly executed (1).

Miles away from a tenth Doctor in a lawyer suit, the Scottish actor delivers one of his best performances ever as this father of an ordinary family whose only superpower (shared by its members) is the force to try to live one day at a time. Single Father is produced by Red Production Company (Casanova) for BBC Scotland. Nicola Shindler exec produces for Red and Anne Mensah and Gaynor Holmes for BBC Scotland. Peter Gallagher is the producer.


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