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CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Half an hour is not enough for such a family drama

There she goes

Review:

Talking heads

Review:

There is a moment in every father’s life when he realizes that his growing child is now faster than he is and always will be.

For David Tennant’s character, Simon, in There She Goes (BBC2), it came to school on a sports day as his 11-year-old daughter Rosie put it across the field, heading for the horizon. There she goes indeed.

Rosie (played with convincing energy by Miley Locke) has a serious learning disability. She cannot speak, but she cannot run half way.

There, She Goes captures the exaggerated sense of chaos mixed with a secret pride known to many parents of hugely difficult children.  We have learned to admire their ability to ignore all social conventions

There, She Goes captures the exaggerated sense of chaos mixed with a secret pride known to many parents of hugely difficult children.  We have learned to admire their ability to ignore all social conventions

There, She Goes captures the exaggerated sense of chaos mixed with a secret pride known to many parents of hugely difficult children. We have learned to admire their ability to ignore all social conventions

Simon watched his wife Emily (Jessica Hynes) chase her, and he jogged after them, knowing he had been beaten before he started.

The day I found out that my own son, David (also a non-speaker and a sprinter), could outsmart me, he scraped the garden gate and walked down the avenue to the main road at the back of our house. By the time I reached the corner, it was 50 meters in front of me and zigzagged in traffic.

All thanks to the gods of autism, it was a rubbish dump that day and David slowed down to knock down every trash can. I caught him after the eighth.

There, She Goes captures the exaggerated sense of chaos mixed with a secret pride known to many parents of hugely difficult children. We have learned to admire their ability to ignore all social conventions.

Emily watched her daughter wipe bookshelves on the library floor, then pluck the doll from a baby’s mouth to chew on herself.

Basing the story on their own experiences, writers Shaun Pye and Sarah Crawford show the toll it takes especially on Simon - warding off reality with bad jokes, cigarettes and red wine

Basing the story on their own experiences, writers Shaun Pye and Sarah Crawford show the toll it takes especially on Simon - warding off reality with bad jokes, cigarettes and red wine

Basing the story on their own experiences, writers Shaun Pye and Sarah Crawford show the toll it takes especially on Simon – warding off reality with bad jokes, cigarettes and red wine

“Rosie loves it here,” she confided in a baffled librarian.

On a sports day before the races, Rosie sat in the school hall with her coat over her head to shut out all talk. Think of any meetings or lectures where you might have liked to, but would never dare.

The rewards don’t always outweigh the exhaustion and despair of raising a child like Rosie.

Basing the story on their own experiences, writers Shaun Pye and Sarah Crawford show the toll it takes especially on Simon – warding off reality with bad jokes, cigarettes, and red wine.

This is the second series and it is a pity that they have kept to the format of half an hour.

Peter Bowker’s long drama The A Word on BBC1 shows what can be done with similar material by exploring the toll that is being taken on the whole family. I’d like to know more about how Emily wears the strain, and the effect on Rosie’s big brother, Ben (Edan Hayhurst).

Next time, each episode should last an hour.

Half an hour is perfect for Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads (BBC1), which ended with a new monologue called The Shrine. Monica Dolan played Lorna, whose middle-aged husband Clifford was killed on his motorcycle on a bird-watching expedition.

Half an hour is perfect for Alan Bennett's Talking Heads (BBC1), which ended with a new monologue called The Shrine.  Monica Dolan played Lorna, whose middle-aged husband Clifford was killed on his motorcycle on a bird-watching expedition

Half an hour is perfect for Alan Bennett's Talking Heads (BBC1), which ended with a new monologue called The Shrine.  Monica Dolan played Lorna, whose middle-aged husband Clifford was killed on his motorcycle on a bird-watching expedition

Half an hour is perfect for Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads (BBC1), which ended with a new monologue called The Shrine. Monica Dolan played Lorna, whose middle-aged husband Clifford was killed on his motorcycle on a bird-watching expedition

At least Lorna told himself he was watching birds. As always in these playlists, wrapped in the flippiest colloquial speech, it is what we hear between the lines that says the most.

Dolan delivered a tightly controlled performance, her emotions were not so much suppressed as smothered.

She never said her marriage to Clifford was devoid of physical affection, but we gradually understood how lonely she had been for years before he died.

She braced herself to visit the place where he crashed and said, “I thought I had to act,” like it was a WI meeting.

A moment of graphic sexual detail struck a shocking sound. It’s a Bennett trademark, but I wish he wouldn’t.

“Just really not necessary,” one of his characters might say.

Medicine of the night: Jean, 83, was in pain after she turned her off again. She could barely speak in Ambulance (BBC1).

But after a pain-relieving injection, she laughed and flirted with paramedic Eric.

“You’re a very handsome young man,” she sighed.

That shot was clearly strong stuff.

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