Three or fours years ago Manchester based comedy-drama 'Mount Pleasant' on Sky Living(now Sky One), was one of my favourite programmes on the telly
By Andy Lloyd
Three or fours years ago Manchester based comedy-drama 'Mount Pleasant' on Sky Living(now Sky One), was one of my favourite programmes on the telly. It regularly used to make me laugh and I loved its likeable Manchester charm(I'm a Mancunian). In many ways it felt to me like a B or C-list version of ''Cold Feet', I mean this in a good way though.
Nevertheless, I found the last series(series five) of 'Mount Pleasant' a bit of a struggle which led me to question if this show had perhaps now run its course, i.e run out of ideas? Last night I saw episode one of the new series and again in the main I found it all a tad dull and boring.
It has never been a fast paced show but this has never bothered me that much in the past because the characters and narrative have always been captivating and enjoyable to watch(barring most of series five). I didn't feel this way about it last night though. It was perfectly watchable but I found myself drifting off and thinking about other things as I watched it.
The main action in this opening episode focused in Lisa(Sally Lindsay) getting into a state because her and Fergus's(Neil Fitzmaurice) recruitment firm had been nominated in the 'gazette small business awards'. Problem being that the guy on the judging panel who payed them a visit, Adam Wyatt(James Lance), was obnoxious and seemingly a rather big sexist too.
After having a near fatal heart attack and leaving his job as a vicar in the last series, we saw Roger(James Dreyfus) pretending to be a successful author to his friends. In reality he was skint and working in a cafe doing the washing up.
Regarding Tanya(Samantha Womack) and Greg(Adrian Bower), it seems that their impending marriage is doomed. For example, she had not written out any of their wedding invitations and when she did, we saw her write the name of her ex-husband on one of them. Talking of which, her ex husband Bradley(Nigel Harman) has taken over the local Dog and Duck pub and seems to be on the level for the time being at least.
Dan(Daniel Ryan) with Barry(Bobby Ball) went to pick up his Dad Charlie from the Liverpool docks but yet again he did not turn up. You sought of guessed this was going happen after his Mum Pauline(Paula Wilcox) kept telling everybody just how much she was looking forward to going away and seeing Charlie's band on tour.
The other main storyline was about policeman Cameron Miller(Patrick Robinson) being made to take a new recruit under his wing. This character was Ollie Oliver(Jordan Dawes), who was your stereotypical naive new recruit much to Cameron's exasperation.
The problem with most of these narrative strands was that they were pretty boring as I have already highlighted. I have a particular issue with the Tanya, Bradley and Ella(Nicola Millbank) characters, the latter being their daughter. Firstly, I find Tanya and Ella as dull as dishwater. I also do not like the character Bradley so therefore have no real interest watching him. He is not a convincing 'baddie' to me. I don't buy how much Dan is so scared of him either. Rather than being funny when these two characters interact it comes across as corny instead.
Not only is the writing not as good as it once was but 'Mount Pleasant' also badly misses some of its earlier characters that are no longer in it. When the show was in its prime the fantastic actress Pauline Collins was in it where she played Lisa's mum Sue. The loving, sweat and endearing dialogue that her and Bobby Ball(as her husband Barry) shared was really delightful stuff to watch. Angela Griffin's character Shelly is also a big miss together with ditzy-brained Bianca who was played by Sian Reeves.
The shining light in this first episode was actress Ainsley Howard who plays the VERY ditzy character Denise. All of her scenes made me smile. She was involved in the funniest scene too. For example, when Adam Wyatt(from the award panel) arrived at their office, Lisa told Denise to come out and tell her that she had a very important phone call to take. Rather than saying some important business client had rung up, Denise said,
"Er Lisa, there's a phone call for you.......it's the ARCHBISHOP"!
I actually laughed out loud at this joke, just a pity that there weren't more moments in it like this.
I may have moaned quite a bit about this episode however there were two scenes in particular that verged on really annoying me. In two scenes the new PC Ollie Oliver, appeared to show signs of suffering from contamination Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD). For example, we saw him put some of his things in his work locker all neat and tidily. This was then followed by him wiping his locker with a wet wipe and holding the key with a wet wipe as he dropped it into either his bag or pocket. Later on in the pub after he had greeted Cameron's wife Jenna(Nicola Hughes) he made this big thing of getting wet wipes out to wipe his hands. What annoyed me is that the programme appeared to slightly mock OCD.
I say these two scenes appeared to mock OCD because of the reaction on Cameron's face afterwards. Without a shadow of a doubt, with the first example Cameron gave a look of amused bemusement. In an age today when the social stigma regarding mental health is trying to be eradicated by various parties, such scenes in fictional television programmes do not help this cause. I sincerely hope it is a red herring and that it's made to look like this character has OCD when in fact him wiping his hands is to do with something else. However, if Ollie does indeed have OCD and it is not more sensitively handled even in a comedy drama such as this, then the writer/s of this show rightly deserve major criticism.
To sum it up then, I did not hate this first installment of series six but as I have discussed, I found most of it decidedly MEDIOCRE. It needs to improve in the coming weeks and get back to being as good as it once was. I fear this desire of mine won't happen though....I fear MEDIOCRE with 'Mount Pleasant' is THE ONLY THING THAT WE ARE NOW GOING TO GET!!! 3/5.