Weekend TV Review

Sean Day-Lewis Daily Telegraph 5.9.1983

IN THE FINAL episode last night soft Icky killed himself in a stolen car with slow motion cinematic grace, brave Billy was arrested by vicious Liverpool detectives and taken home to be re-brutalised, and their protector Kidder was exposed as a defrocked schoolteacher once imprisoned because of a homosexual affair with an 18 year old pupil. It was not the most jolly conclusion imaginable.

For the last five weeks One Summer (C-4) has been the one reason for staying near a television set on Sunday evenings. There must nevertheless be some sympathy for the writer Willy Russell who refused to allow his name to be attached to tine finished Yorkshire production. What might have been the serial of the year came out as merely watchable.

Above all the story of two Merseyside 16 year olds running away from home and school to rural Wales needed two actors of the same age to engineer the intended audience response of muddled sympathy and revulsion. The intelligent efforts of mature players David Morrissey (Billy) and Spencer Leigh (Icky) to simulate 16 kept running into deflating implausibilities.

Particularly in the final episode, director Gordon Flemyng was insistent on the contrast between urban hardness and rural softness. The Welsh countryside, all dappled with sunlight, and Kidder's derelict home, gave idealised hospitality. The quick rhythmic cutting between Icky's abrasive and town-based last hours and Billy's idyllic dalliance with girlfriend Jo (also much too old) substituted irony for dramatic tension.

This was the strongest slice of television drama to emerge from Yorkshire since " Harry's Game," also produced by Keith Richardson. At a certain level it worked well and I would not have missed an episode, even when on holiday, but it lacked the power of its own storyline.

Main One Summer site