Mary Kenny - Daily Mirror 8.8.1983

Yorkshire Television was distressed that Willy Russell, author of Educating Rita, insisted on having his name removed from the credits of One Summer (Channel 4). Mr Russell did not agree with the casting of his play and. YTV was apprehensive that the omission of his name might damage One Summer's impact with the critics.

But critics would be wrong if they were to judge a work only by the name of the author instead of on its merits.

As it happens, the merits of One Summer are very considerable in my view. And the evidence is that Willy Russell was wrong in damning the casting.

David Morrissey and Spencer Leigh are most beguiling as the two Liverpool truant lads Billy and Icky.

One Summer is not one whit sentimental in its approach to slum-life in Liverpool . The people living in social conditions that would have shocked a Victorian sanitary inspector are not portrayed as merely deprived victims of society, they are also seen as idle, slatternly and thick.

But there is no lack of humour. When Billy mugs a drunk he takes him behind a brick wail and demands £4. The drunk only has a fiver. Have you got a pound change? asks the victim.

Billy and Icky are absolutely hopeless cases, and they are profoundly deprived, all right. But they also need their ears boxed. The viewer's compassion is mostly with their beleaguered teachers.

Nevertheless, villains as the pair of them are, you are curiously on their side. When at the end of episode one they make off to Wales on a train, you desperately hope they will get away and find some joy in new, green pastures.

What they find in Wales will unfold in later episodes, which are well worth viewing.

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