Sunday, 15 January 2017

Friday Night's Tele: Tina and Bobby, ITV

With its '60s period detail, its associated jukebox soundtrack and its great romance, ITV are clearly hoping for another hit like Cilla or Mrs Briggs with Tina and Bobby, the story of the great love between England's World Cup winning skipper Bobby Moore and his wife, Tina. However, they've neglected to include the one key ingredient that made those two previous productions so acclaimed; Sheridan Smith. 

As Tina, Michelle Keegan is no Sheridan Smith. She served her time on the cobbles of Coronation Street, where I believe she was extremely popular, but since then she has muddled her way through a high profile starring role in BBC's Our Girl (where she appeared to give a performance akin to a Suranne Jones tribute act in mumblecore mode) and now this, with a London accent that goes all over the place. 

As Bobby, Lorne MacFadyen fares much better and he keeps his own native (Scottish) accent in check, but he's hampered by the fact that Bobby's just a starry sideshow in former EastEnders scriptwriter Lauren Klee's hands. Because this is Tina's story, the ambitions of the production lie squarely on her shoulders as portrayed by Keegan, and they're just to slender to carry it, whilst Klee's corny, soapy dialogue further scuppered any admirable intentions.

It also didn't help that the production is so obviously cheap too. Mixing black and white footage of the action on the pitch with the reactions of the cast in the stands was a bad idea, but far worse was to come when Tina and Bobby jetted off to Spain for their honeymoon - including a risible studio shoot against a blue sky backdrop that reminded me of '80s sitcom Duty Free

Ultimately, Tina and Bobby may be about one of our fondly remembered golden couples, but in depicting their love it has all the emotional depth and resonance of a soppy photo story from a '60s teenager's magazine. I'll give part two a try but right now the feeling is 'they think it's all over...'

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