Catch up TV reviews: The Trials of Jimmy Rose, School Swap, Muslim Drag Queens
Ivan Radford | On 29, Aug 2015Reading time: 4 mins
The Trials of Jimmy Rose (ITV player)
Ray Winstone has one of those faces everyone recognises – partly because that face spends so much time being blown up to twice its normal size and hovering around shouting gambling tips. It’s a mark of just how likeable Ray is that, unlike Kevin Bacon post-EE adverts, his name is still enough to make you tune into something.
In this case, that something is ITV’s new Sunday night drama about Jimmy Rose, a career criminal who’s just been released from prison, after 12 years behind bars. He wanders the streets, half-singing That’s Life, in a way that’s clearly meant to be endearing, but his welcome home is far from warm: his wife (a strong Amanda Redman) doesn’t know if she loves him anymore and his son wants nothing to do with him – maybe he saw those Bet365 ads too.
The problem is that we’ve seen this before. Scenes where the well-meaning ex-con tries to go straight with a B&Q job and lies to his parole officer struggle to be more than the cliches they echo (although a moment involving an Oyster card is nicely observed). The introduction of a drug-addicted daughter, meanwhile, suggests a longer trip down Stereotype Road.
But it’s in Jimmy’s response to his situation – using his law-breaking experience and dodgy contacts – that the promise lies, as Winstone’s reactions become increasingly unpredictable. That’s not enough to make you like his familiar, gruff character, but it might be enough to make you tune in next week.
Available until: 27th September
School Swap: The Class Divide (ITV Player)
What school did you go to? It’s a question everyone gets asked at some point, because no matter what people say or would like to think, education still matters. For those in private schools, it’s a reason to look down on someone. For those in comprehensive schools, it’s a reminder that those deemed to have attended a superior school have a better shot at life: a recent study by the London School of Economics found that a glass ceiling does exist for those from better-off backgrounds.
ITV’s two-part documentary, then, which swaps staff and pupils between state (Bemrose School in Derby) and independent (a Wiltshire boarding school) institutions, is ripe with potential. The insights are sadly few, as it largely confirms the stereotypes already held by many – the staff are just as strong in their beliefs about the merits of their chosen educational career – but whichever side of the fence you cheer for, the juxtaposition makes for engaging viewing.
Photo: ITV / Shiver Productions
Available until: 17th September
Muslim Drag Queens (Channel 4, All 4)
“I’m a Muslim, I’m British-Pakistani and I”m also a drag queen,” says Asif in Channel 4’s new documentary, Muslim Drag Queens. It’s the kind of matter-of-fact title that could easily herald the kind of strange-but-true, point-and-laugh affair that so often fills up our TV screens, but this is a sincere and inspirational piece of film-making.
Asif’s cross-dressing, which combines traditional Islamic dress with striking eyeshadow and colourful flashes, is wonderful to behold, while another’s quest to find love online allows for gentle humour as well as serious statements, a balance softened by narration from Sir Ian McKellen. Whether smiling or frowning, the point is never overstated but horribly real: with so much taboo surrounding homosexuality and their lifestyle in the Muslim community, being themselves isn’t just an act of self-expression for these people but a heart-warming demonstration of courage.
Available until: 23rd September
Photo: Phil Fisk
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