Moving On (3 stars)

Jimmy McGovern-created series letting it slip without his firm hand

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Moving On

Created in 2009 by Jimmy McGovern, Moving On was a bold attempt at getting some harder issues thrust onto daytime TV schedules obsessed with auctions and animals. We’ve now reached season six and with its boss’ role now described as ‘story editor’, it’s clear that his hand is less on the tiller that perhaps it might be.

The result of this bunch of five episodes is a rather lukewarm affair. Given that McGovern’s CV is rammed with normal people having something out-of-the-normal change their lives forever (see The Street for further details), the very least you should expect is one tear per episode attempting an eye-escape. Even this viewer, who floods into buckets at the very mention of the words ‘John Lewis Christmas ad’ only had the Kleenex on standby once during the entire series.

The week kicks off with Hayley Mills as Madge, a woman who harbours a major secret: her husband (Kenneth Cranham) has been in clink for over a decade while she has tried to start her life again. Though she visits him regularly, Madge has fallen in love with another man (Peter Egan), but any plans for the future seem destined to be thwarted by her sense of duty. How can she move on?

Other episodes feature Lisa Riley as a run-down mum working two jobs to keep her family ticking over. When she steals a winning lottery ticket from the cornershop she works in every evening, this goes against her grain being a total salt-of-the-earth type. Regrets soon trickle in, particularly when she sees the impact such a windfall would have had on the actual ticket-holder. How will she be able to move on from this? Oh, the show is all about people moving on, by the way.

Also moving on is Jenny (Anna Crilly) whose dull life with her dull husband (Neil Fitzmaurice) is altered when an old uni pal shows up. The remaining segments feature another woman on the right side of a conflicted cash-injection and two brothers at each other’s throats. If a season seven is even being mooted, our Jimmy should probably take a firmer hand on proceedings rather than trusting writers who don’t quite possess his unique abilities. It’s the only way this show can, well, move on.

Moving On broadcasts on BBC One, Mon 10--Fri 14 Nov, 2.15pm.

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