More TV Memories – True Love.

True Love (ITV, 1996)

A while ago I looked back at the ITV 90s sitcom My Wonderful Life, which has gone on to be one of the most-viewed pieces on this blog, and it is interesting to know what shows people want to find out more about to bring back memories. But this actually started out as a one-off hour-long comedy-drama called True Love, so I thought that I might as well review this too.

The writer was Simon Nye (best-known for creating Men Behaving Badly), and the producer was Brian Park, who went on to ruin Coronation Street (only kidding?!). This was rather different to what would become My Wonderful Life. The main characters Donna (Emma Wray) and Phil (Philip Glenister), did feature, but none of the other regular cast members did.

This meant that we were yet to meet some of Donna’s colleagues including Lawrie, Roger, and Bridget, or the neighbours Marina and Alan. The episode starts with Donna and Phil as they were going through a divorce. We then see how they are coping after going their separate ways. Donna is a nurse at a run-down hospital, while Phil has some work as a cab driver.

This has all been rather tough on Donna, and the two children, and she realises that she has the opportunity to try something different. She then meets Chris, and considers moving to a different part of the country with him. But of course, she soon discovers that despite his uselessness, she does still have some feelings for Phil, and she makes a surprise last-minute decision to stay with him.

It was realised that this idea did have some potential to be explored further, which turned out to be a good move, and just over a year later, the first series of My Wonderful Life launched. This was one of only two major TV roles for Emma Wray (the other being sitcom Watching), and she just about left the business after this ended in 1999 which was a shame because she was great.

More TV Memories – My Wonderful Life.

My Wonderful Life (ITV, 1997-1999) wonderful0001

My Wonderful Life was a comedy-drama series created by Simon Nye who was also behind such great shows as Men Behaving Badly and Is It Legal?, and he wrote eight of the 23 episodes. It was something of a low-key show that was based on an hour-long one-off drama called True Love that was shown in 1996 and was recorded on location without a laughter track. The theme music was “I Am I Feel” by Alisha’s Attic. vlcsnap-00678

The main character in the show is Donna (Emma “Watching” Wray) who is a young single mother trying to raise her two daughters Rhiannon and Shirley after going through a divorce. She works as a nurse and is struggling to further her career but enjoys working alongside her friend Bridget (Clare Perkins who was recently in EastEnders) and they both often have to deal with irritating patients. vlcsnap-00676

After a while Donna begins to fall for two of her colleagues, the reliable doctor Roger (Hamish “Vodafone” Clark) and the more adventurous paramedic Lawrie (Gary “Minder” Webster who left after the first series). Things get even more complicated though when her ex-husband Phil (Philip “Gene Hunt” Glenister) returns. Eventually she chooses Roger. vlcsnap-00679

Another thing that Donna has to deal with is her next-door neighbours often interfering. The rather dull Alan (Tony “Baldrick” Robinson) who sees himself as something of a “new man” and Marina (Elizabeth Berrington) whose marriage is clearly in trouble, and they often argue in front of Donna and their son Simon. vlcsnap-00673

As the episodes pass Alan begins to embark on what he calls a “parallel relationship” (that is to say an affair) with Lydia. Phil also starts to go out with the glamorous Gail, but even after he gets her pregnant he realises that he still has feelings for Donna. vlcsnap-00680

My Wonderful Life ran for three series but ITV seemed to lose interest by the end with the final series being scheduled rather erratically and it was a moderate success. It wasn’t the end just yet though as the show had a surprise repeat run on ITV2 in 2000 but it hasn’t been seen on the screen since. vlcsnap-00681

I must admit that my sister is a bigger fan of My Wonderful Life than I am but having had a look at some series one episodes for myself I did enjoy it with lots of good performances, realistic situations and interesting characters. vlcsnap-00675

When trying to find out more about the show I was surprised to discover that it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry but someone somewhere must have watched this. It also hasn’t been released on DVD but it definitely deserves to be, there have been a lot of comedies far inferior to My Wonderful Life that have come out so I would definitely support the release of this one, hopefully one day it will happen. vlcsnap-00674