Review: Come Home (BBC1)

Reviews and Events

After 19 years of marriage Greg’s wife Marie (Paula Malcomson) walks out on him and their three children with no explanation other than needing some space. From the outset it looks as though she wants no contact with her family, not even their five-year-old daughter. Eleven months on Greg – who is played by Christopher Eccleston – is struggling to cope as a single father.

Despite his clear desperation to get his wife back, Greg attempts to move on and in the first episode we see him awkwardly try his luck at internet dating. He meets with a woman in a bar and the date goes from bad to worse as the conversation changes from the variety of recycling bin colours to why his wife left him. As Greg goes to get his already disengaged date another glass of white wine, several condoms fall from his pocket and the woman he met online assures him that he won’t be needing them as she leaves.

It’s not hard to feel sorry for Greg who appears to remain baffled throughout the three-part series as he tells people that his wife “walked out on her home and kids for no reason.” When Marie is shown in nightclubs with random men, Greg is shown trying to run a home, hold down a job and look after his three children who are clearly longing for their mother.

When Greg finds comfort in the arms of Brenna, the woman who delivers sandwiches every lunchtime to the garage he and his son work in, things appear to be looking up for the hapless mechanic. But of course, no television drama is ever that straightforward.

Brenna (Kerri Quinn) has a violent and obsessive husband who is unwilling to let her go. This doesn’t stop Greg from inviting her and her young son to live with him however and soon Brenna the lovely sandwich lady becomes manipulative and controlling.

At this point the audience will be wondering if Greg’s luck will ever change as we sympathize with him more and more. Like any good drama though, here the plot of Come Home darkens and a series of flashbacks show Greg from Marie’s perspective.

We discover that Greg was controlling, faked a vasectomy and tricked his wife into having another baby. We also realise that Marie, deeply unhappy in her marriage, had an affair and that her middle child is not Greg’s.

There are plenty of dramatic twists in this series and anyone who likes a good melodrama will love it. In the last series a custody battle unfolds, and the series ends with the children staying with their mum on weekdays, their dad at weekends and neither Marie nor Greg any happier with their lives.

Writer Danny Brocklehurst deals excellently with a variety of sensitive issues such as postnatal depression, alcoholism, the repercussions of infidelity and the anxieties faced by a child who lives in a broken home. As far as dramas go, this series ticks all the boxes.

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