The strumpets sound for sex in a new city
Jessica is hooked on sex , especially if her conquest is already taken
Mistresses 9.30pm, Seven
THE title of this racy new drama from the BBC is a dead giveaway: yes, it’s about illicit relationships; and yes, the key transgressors are women.
Mistresses is part thriller, part upmarket soap opera forged from the Sex and the City template.
Four 30- something women grapple with life and love and meet for dinner or drinks with a frequency that suggests they have no other demands on their time.
Lead character Katie, played by Sarah Parish, doe- eyed star of British series Blackpool and Cutting It, is a trusted GP who has been having an affair with a married patient. The patient is terminally ill and dies sooner than his family — also treated by Katie — were expecting. When the patient’s son starts asking questions, Katie’s personal and professional reputation is on the line.
Katie’s best friend Trudi ( Sharon Small) is a mother of two and a September 11 widow who suspects her husband may still be alive, as his body was never found in the World Trade Centre ruins. Then there are those anonymous phone calls. What do they mean? Just as Trudi receives a $ US2 million insurance payout, a handsome, single dad asks her on a date, the first since her husband’s presumed death. Is her new beau genuine, or after her dough?
The third member of this all- girl quartet, Siobhan ( Orla Brady), is a lawyer who ends up in a clinch with a colleague because sex with her husband has lost its sizzle under the strain of trying ( unsuccessfully) to fall pregnant. Besides, her colleague had been asking to see her undies for some time, and she obliges. Politically correct this isn’t. But nor, alas, does the dialogue between these licentious lawyers seem remotely authentic. Similarly, serial slapper Jessica ( Shelley Conn) is more machine than character, virtually a clone of Sex and the City resident maneater Samantha. Jessica is hooked on sex rather than romance, especially if her conquest is already taken.
Sleeping with married men, she boasts, is a no- brainer, as they’re bedroom- trained, low- maintenance and have an exit strategy.
Clearly, there is plenty — indeed, too much — going on in this highclass soap: the storyline is just too busy to be credible. The story of Katie having it off with her now- dead patient, whose death she may have hastened, could sustain a drama in its own right. Instead, it’s squeezed between competing subplots and loses impact as a result.
Still, these wicked or wronged women have proved highly popular with viewers in their native Britain. Mistresses rated so well, a second series is to be filmed later this year.
Sex and violins: The Mistresses cast, from left, Shelley Conn, Sharon Small, Sarah Parish and Orla Brady