Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: Ordinary Lies

Coronation Street's Michelle Keegan in a lie less ordinary

Coronation Street’s Michelle Keegan in a lie less ordinary

TV Preview: Ordinary Lies | TV1, 9.30 Sunday


By Doug Coutts

Martin’s a car salesman who’s in a bit of a rut. As a result he’s drinking too many pints of an evening and turning up for work late.

On his final warning, he accidentally goes to the pub again, drinks eight too many pints and is late for work.

Rather than face the music, he calls in and says, “I can’t make it in today, because … um … my wife’s dead.”

As lies go, it’s not that ordinary and you can guess the trouble he gets into. Some of his colleagues are experiencing difficulties with lies as well which, as you can probably guess, are causing them a few issues too.

You can probably also guess that Ordinary Lies is … well, ordinary. Technically it’s very nicely shot – in HD you can see every single sweaty lying pore on Martin’s face – but there’s nothing original in the story that’d make me want to give it another go.

It’s already messy, it’s going to get messier, but it’s the kind of mess that’s not going to clean up on Bafta night.

Joy Joyner (EastEnders), Max Beesley (Bodies) and and Sally Lindsay (Coronation Street)

Joy Joyner (EastEnders), Max Beesley (Bodies) and and Sally Lindsay (Coronation Street)

What other critics said:

“Danny Brocklehurst’s series is set in a car showroom packed with people fighting hidden battles, played by likable light-drama actors: Jo Joyner, Sally Lindsay, Max Beesley. Soapy fun, with a different character spotlit each week. Jason Manford just about holds his story together.” — The Guardian.

“If episode one wasn’t firing on all six, Brocklehurst made sure he laid a few plot-landmines which might get viewers coming back for more. But so far, it’s just pottering along well inside the speed limit.” — The Arts Desk.

“This was a big, bold storyline with which to kick off a series of six interlinking tales, but Brocklehurst’s pithy script and a confident Manford and cast pulled the tall tale off. If you thought Ordinary Lies was implausible piffle, then perhaps light BBC1 prime-time North West England-based drama, in the manner or Clocking Off, Sorted or The Street, is not really your bag.” — The Independent.

“As that missing ‘v’ in the second half of the title suggests, Ordinary Lies is intended to be a vaguely naturalistic workplace drama, in contrast to all of the police and hospital shows in which someone, generally a child, dies either at the beginning or at the end. So far, at least, no one has died, which feels blazingly novel.” — The Telegraph.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at:
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