Sheridan Smith’s the waif of Wall Street...
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DID YOU survive the blizzard of new and returning TV shows? They were everywhere, morning, noon and night, more than 40 in the schedules but still nothing on. Why do TV channels do it? It’s our fault. We sit in our front rooms watching TV and don’t go out. Quite right. And what did we get? Sheridan Smith as an “insider trader” in
(ITV, Thursday). Who’d have thought it? This is an actress who does “real” and does it well. Bafta well.
As overnight cleaner Sam, she began on her knees on the office carpet, trying to remove a stain. The drama is undeniably grounded. Sam couldn’t fix the stain so she faked it by colouring in the mark with a felt-tip pen. She’s resourceful. But her boss was not pleased, evident by his “evil gang-master” resting face.
This drama couldn’t have been more domestic if it were set in Jim Royle’s back room. But aspirational, too. There’s always an illegal way to make money if you look hard enough and do your research thoroughly on the internet.
As Sam coped with her costly bingo habit, loan sharks, her philandering and now divorcing husband, and a hit-and-run, she concocted an elaborate ruse to eavesdrop on a City trader who couldn’t help but talk about insider trading in an open office. There will be howls of laughter coming from the City. Soon we will all be taking trains to Canary Wharf while keeping our ears to the ground in local cafés so we, too, can make a fortune. Well, at least £250, to begin with.
As this is a six-part series, we have some way to go. Sheridan gave us a clue by referencing Gordon Gekko and Wall Street, which suggests that, along with developing a terrible 80s dress sense, she will want to become a hedge fund manager in New York, or “hedgie”, the ultimate in fleecing unsuspecting pension funds for a moderate return.
But the most intriguing character is the lodger who has moved in to help pay the rent. He’s doing a PhD, allegedly, but is funding it by repairing motor mowers. Sure he is.
I predict he’s a City “day trader” – dealing shares dressed in a onesie – and together they will drive through the Blackwall Tunnel in triumph by the end of the series, throwing notes from a red Ferrari convertible. I do hope so. Prepare yourself for a happy ending.
If you’re an actor taking on
(ITV, Sunday), you would hope that everyone forgets you’re best known for playing a character called Joe Mangel on Neighbours. It seems like only yesterday that Mark Little caused mayhem around the smoking barbecues and out-of-control hosepipes of Ramsay Street. What japes, mate. Now, improbably, he’s on ITV’s icebound version of Channel 4’s The Jump which was cruelly outlawed by Lloyd’s of London.
Mark Little is anything but little and consequently not built for this. He was more at home at the mock bar at the start of his routine, having already confessed to the audience: “I can’t skate.”
His family will have trembled but the rest of us were rubbing our hands, thinking of all-time favourite contestant Todd Carty who took ice skating to a new level with an unrehearsed beeline for the green room at 80mph.
Little fell short of this, alas, but still entertainingly mangled the whole thing. Don’t vote him out just yet, please. He needs to build his confidence and try something extremely technical like a Down Under
Cleaning Up Dancing On Ice
Double Flip which would propel him into the lap of fellow Aussie Jason “full of the joys” Gardiner.
Similarly with the other comic turn, Gemma Collins, or “The GC” as she is known apparently. You probably last saw the former Towie performer on I’m A Celebrity. When it suddenly dawned on her that she wasn’t going to be fed a proper meal, she hastily jumped on a helicopter and got herself out of there.
With Dancing On Ice, she’s again taking her time to understand the details of the show. “I didn’t know it was live,” Collins mused. She wasn’t a natural either, gliding about the rink like a majestic Victorian icebreaker exploring the Arctic Circle, crashing into objects, walls and passers-by without fear or favour.
She did master a new move called the “hair flick” in which she threw back her head and golden coif, almost falling over backwards. Supreme entertainment value and again, please, do keep her in the show.
FINALLY, no one is talking about (BBC One, Sunday). No one’s even singing about it. It’s got the daftest plot since The Magic Roundabout. Why does Valjean, a man apparently brimming with humanity and forgiveness, sack Fantine because she has a child? And why is Javert so obsessed with him? Is there something they’d like to share with us? You long for Russell Crowe’s Javert to intone something indecipherable like: “I like it ven you do ze heavy lifting, Valjean...”
Woman-of-the-moment Olivia Colman injected some spark into this pudding of a period drama as a publican’s wife. She was, alas, cuffed for her bother. Actor Ron Cook did his best, too. He brought an element of circus horror, performing some sideshow dentistry on Fantine as if to confirm what we were all thinking about this drama: watching it is like pulling teeth.
RUBBISH JOB: But Sheridan Smith gets a tidy result in Cleaning Up by keeping her ears open
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