If you remember the gripping emotional whirlwind that was Dr Foster back in 2015, you may well get excited at the news of a spin-off. Writer Mike Bartlett now gives us Life, a series which follows a bunch of middle-class folk living in a converted mansion in Manchester – potential new feature for BBC’s Manctopia? – and all of them suffering various woes.
When you think of middle-class problems, you’re likely expecting falling stock prices or Waitrose running out of quinoa, but this show gets deeper than a millennial in student debt. There’s rebuilding a life after divorce, a pregnancy from a one night stand and a pair of childhood sweethearts tested by a holiday hottie. The most gripping plotline, however, comes from our favourite, “Oh my Christ!”, Alison Steadman playing Gail, a nearly-70-year old with an insufferable husband, who’s realising she’s had very little control over her life.
Anita Singh in The Telegraph enjoyed the show’s slow pace, which she says, “encourages you to sink into the sofa and enjoy it,” commenting that Bartlett “excelled with a study of middle-class life and longing across the generations.” In The Times James Jackson remarks, “this is rich territory to explore.” But does it compare to its predecessor? He notes: “Doctor Foster was a mad-eyed Greek tragedy; this ended with a sentimental montage.” Ellen E Jones in The Guardian says Life is “British telly at its unshowy best… Scathing social satire is great, but it is a more impressive feat to turn such earnest awe at humanity’s capacity for connection into compelling entertainment.”
Life is much more Cold Feet than In Cold Blood, so if warm hearted character study is your thing, it’s time to get a…you know what we mean.
First shown September 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.