Writer and creator Sally Wainwright, is a genius in my eyes. Her Happy Valley for example, is one of the greatest TV dramas ever made. I have also always been a big fan of Last Tango in Halifax too. There is something very British about it. It is quirky, funny and emotive, as well as the acting always being superb.
However, series 5 of Last Tango was a bit of let-down. Indeed, the fourth and final episode last night was rather corny and weak. There was a lack of any narrative tension built-up within these four episodes. I didn’t really care last night what happened to Alan’s (Derek Jacobi) brother Ted (Timothy West), because we never really got to know him that well as a character anyway.
I found the unlikely scenario of the young lad Harrison (Liam McCheyne), driving Ted to the seaside completely unbelievable. Harrison looked about 12, yet we were supposed believe that no member of the public would have spotted him driving and so reported him?
Another unbelievable aspect was Celia’s (Anne Reid) continued obsession with wanting a new kitchen. I know she is supposed to be a snob, but would anybody really care that much about it? Another disappointing narrative strand that got resolved, was us finding out who had painted the giant giraffe on the outside of Gillian’s (Nicola Walker) barn. It turned out to be a mate of Raff’s (Josh Bolt), in some half-baked scheme to try and raise some funds for Gillian. It just had a anticlimactic feel about it all, together with other narrative strands.
There was this scene near the end where we saw Alan and Celia in church together. Some would argue it was a brilliantly acted emotive scene. I on the other hand, found it really drawn out and dull. I also didn’t really get the point of us seeing teacher Ruth (Lu Corfield), at home having an F-word exchange with her husband. Was it supposed to show us that Ruth was stronger than we had thought, thus not the stereotypical victim?
Having said all of that, this final episode was not a complete car crash. It still maintained this charming quality about it all which I adore. This comes from the brilliance of having two elderly actors in Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid, star as the two main characters. It just lacked the usual Sally Wainwright brilliance in my view.
Has this show now run its course I wonder? Quite possibly is my answer. I would have made this the last series and dramatically killed off Alan or Celia, preferably the former.
I really expected to have enjoyed this series 5 finale, but yet again I have to be honest and say it was a bit of a let-down for me. Roll on series 3 of Happy Valley I say, because I’m just not sure how much more of Last Tango in Halifax, I can now take! 3/5