MAN AND BOY THE BEEB’S DONE ME PROUD
by Tony Parsons (the author of the book)
IF you are near a television at nine o’clock on Easter Saturday, then you might like to know that ITV are showing Denis Norden’s Seventh Laughter File.
That should be, well, pretty awful.
So you could always change channels and watch BBC1’s superb production of my novel Man And Boy.
The one-off film has all the qualities that I like to think are in the book, namely the very human qualities of laughter and tears. It’s the story of your family and mine.
And if you think my book is a pile of sentimental rubbish then you might enjoy it anyway. Yesterday one paper said the BBC’s film was a vast improvement on my lousy work, and “spikes the book’s mawkishness”.
Personally, I love the BBC’s film. Ioan Gruffudd is of course a bit too ugly to play a character based on me but women seem to like him. I can’t help noticing that Ioan is young enough to be the son of elderly British heart-throbs like Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.
Ioan’s son, played by seven-year-old Dominic Howell – who bears a remarkable resemblance to my own boy at that age – gives a heartbreaking performance of a child whose parents are coming apart. Dominic is a real kid, not some spoilt stage-school brat, and terrific fun to be around. He is also fiercely competitive.
“I only got my lines wrong twice,” he says. “But Ioan had his words wrong about 27 times.”
It’s a very sexy production. Natasha Little, as Harry’s betrayed wife, gives a performance that deserves an Oscar. American Elizabeth Mitchell, of ER fame, is wonderful as the girl who helps Harry to love again, and looks great with her clothes off.
And incredible newcomer Shelley Conn is simply the best-looking actress you will see on your TV all year.
The BBC’s Man And Boy is terrific entertainment for all the family. It’s about how love gets passed down between generations. Directed by Simon Curtis, it’s touching, sad, funny and incredibly sexy.
Watch it with a lump in your throat or a lump in your trousers. But please watch it. BBC1, Easter Saturday, nine o’clock.
Although, of course, Denis Norden is always incredibly entertaining.
HARRY SILVER hits 30 and panics. He has a beautiful wife and the perfect child – but perhaps a flashy sports car will make him feel better.Unfortunately, he also goes for the One Night Stand and throws it all away in a moment of infidelity.
His shattered wife Gina leaves to go and work in Japan. Suddenly it is just Harry and his five-year-old son Pat. They must learn to get along together and Harry is forced to confront the realities of fatherhood in the modern world.
The BBC’s production of Tony Parsons’ hit novel is one of the mainstays of their Easter schedule, and it doesn’t disappoint.
The book by Parsons – who makes a Hitchcock style cameo appearance himself – has sold more than 1.5million copies and he jumped at the chance of it moving to the small screen under the guidance of producer Kate Harwood and director Simon Curtis.
It’s a simple story told simply, but brought to life beautifully by some smashing performances.
102 Dalmations star Ioan Gruffudd, as TV producer Harry, is the central figure and the action revolves around his relationships with his family, workmates and lovers.
But for me the real star was six-year-old Dominic Howell, in his first TV acting role, as angel-faced and Star Wars obsessed Pat.
Natasha Little as cheated wife Gina and Elizabeth Mitchell – ER’s Dr Kim Legaspi – as Harry’s new love Cyd are also excellent.
There are roles too for a couple of more well-known faces in Pauline Collins as Harry’s mother Betty and Ian McShane as loose-cannon chat show host Marty Mann.
Harry’s role with his father Paddy – Jack Shepherd – is also a key part of the film.
If you’ve read the book you probably won’t think it’s as good – are they ever? – but Man and Boy is still a rollercoaster of emotions it’s worth settling down for a trip on.
Rating: Eight out of 10.
Man And Boy airs on BBC1 on Saturday March 30 at 9pm.
Source: Digital Spy
Around this trio we get the exceptional Natasha Little, so vividly good in Vanity Fair, plus Pauline Collins and Elizabeth Mitchell, last seen as Dr Legaspi in ER.
Man and Boy
Channel: BBC1 | Date: Saturday 30 March | Time: 9:00pm to 10:45pm
The consequences of a brief, thoughtless one-night stand on what appears to be a happy marriage are spelt out in frequently painful detail in this excellent and moving dramatisation of the bestselling novel by Tony Parsons. Ioan Gruffudd plays Harry Silver, a successful, 30-year-old TV producer with a charming wife, Gina (Natasha Little), and a sweet four-year-old son, Pat (played by the wonderfully expressive Dominic Howell). He seems, in fact, to have everything. But discontent is gnawing at him. He buys a sports car as a compensation for the nagging feeling that something is missing from his life, and then makes a dreadful mistake when he has a sexual liaison with a work colleague. Dramatised by Kevin Hood.
Touching drama about a thirtysomething man who has to face up to the realities of fatherhood in the modern world. Following an infidelity, Harry Silver’s world is turned upside down when his distraught wife abandons him and goes to work in Japan, leaving him to bring up their four-year-old son. He comes to rely heavily on his parents and, in doing so, examines the roles they have both played in his own life.
Source: Radio Times