Jimmy McGovern makes nothing but brilliant television. His contribution to British drama is outstanding. Second Coming blew everyone away and his work on Cracker is pretty much unparalleled. He is, in my humble opinion, bona fide TV royalty.
Which is why I’m saddened that The Street, part-written by McGovern, is about to leave our screens forever and ever amen. Especially given that, it could well be McGovern’s greatest televisual acheivement.
This, the third and final series, that is currently airing, has been staggering and arresting viewing, with tales of love, loss, anger, strife, war and power. Universal themes run hot and cold through the paving stones and tobacco stained fingers. It’s immense television.
What makes the current crop so riveting is how the show gets down and dirty and tackles the things that most dramas shy away from. It meets society’s issues in place too uncomfortable for most shows. Yet still, it doesn’t leave you with an easy answer – ever.
Last night’s show dealt with racism in white working classes. The show could’ve easily gone for the easy line, but instead, blurred it and left you second guessing ’til the close. Instead of relentless gloom, the show managed to find warmth in the most dire circumstance, just like real life.
That’s something that’s been a constant in McGovern’s work, especially in The Street. There’s heart and soul in each beat of the script and dialogue flows naturally, quickly and with real wit and verve.
The assembled actors are always inspired and, credit too must go to the whole team that make the show, right down to the tea-lady. There’s a harmony off-camera that translates to screen. You sense that there is one vision and everyone knows exactly what is needed to make one of the best things ever aired on TV.
Enjoy it while you can.