You don’t have to be Einstein, to work out what the new BBC1 prime time drama Wanderlust was going to be about. To coin a catchphrase from lovable old Roy Walker, ”say what you see”. Yes, Wanderlust was about sex. In fact, leading up to this first episode, the hype around this drama had led it to be dubbed ‘one of the raciest dramas the channel has ever seen’.
If all you were looking for was some quick titillation then this does not do the programme any sort of justice. It was not perfect but a drama talking about the taboo subject of middle aged sex, it has be applauded to some degree. There weren’t any graphic sexual images on display and it was more humorous than had been expected.
The couple that this drama is based around are therapist Joy Richards(Toni Collette), and her teacher husband Alan Richards(Steven Mackintosh). Straight away we caught them in bed together and discovered that all was not well in their sex life. Toni was the glue that held this first episode together and her fine performance as a sexually frustrated older woman needs praising. The writing also needs commending that the narrative wasn’t just told from a male perspective like so many other stories are.
Throughout the episode, their troubled sex life becomes more of an issue which leads both to have sexual encounters with other people. Whilst this is going on we learn that their neighbours are splitting up due to their sex troubles, and their son Tom(Joe Hurst), has a new found crush on this new girl at school.
On the negative side, there was no big build-up of narrative tension leaving us with a corker of a cliffhanger. It also has to be questioned whether people think about sex as much as this drama indicated? Is there not more to life than just bonking and thinking about bonking? Do we really need six episodes about this? Surely, it’s going to get a bit tedious at some stage isn’t it?
There was also a bit of this drama that was meant to be funny but it just all came across as being rather puerile. This involved a male teacher Neil(Jeremy Swift), being caught masturbating in Alan’s office by female colleague Claire(Zawe Ashton). It was more in line with what you’d expect to find in an episode of say Teachers, rather than in a prime time drama on the Beeb.
All-in-all, not a bad effort and it could have been so much worse given the subject matter. Worth tuning in for episode two to see how the narrative develops. 4/5.