Hmm … I still can’t quite make up my mind about this, but it’s definitely improving as the series has gone on. I nearly gave up after one episode, on the grounds of a Londoner (the series is based on a book by Nick Hornby) showing a working-class Northerner thinking that “eau de toilette” was pronounced “eau de toilet”. Not funny. Not even remotely funny.
However, it’s got a lot better since then. And I really do like the character of Barbara, played brilliantly by Gemma Arterton; and the programme’s portrayal of the showbusiness attitudes of the 1960s towards a pretty girl with a regional accent is probably not inaccurate. We’ve seen Barbara, leaving behind her family and friends in Blackpool to seek fame and fortune in London, struggle to get a foothold in the industry but keep on fighting and win a TV comedy role.
There were plenty of showbusiness opportunities in the North in the 1960s, and I’d rather have seen her try her luck with Granada than all the awful cliches of a Northerner in London; but this isn’t bad, and I’m glad that I stuck with it.