Review: Last Tango in Halifax a no miss, fantastic series

<p><em>Bottom line: If there is one romantic drama series to catch this fall, make it PBS’s ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ which stars Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi as high school sweethearts who were circumvented by Jacobi’s character’s future wife in an act of unkindness.</em></p> <p>The two are now widow and widower with adult children, and reconnect thanks to the miracle of social media.</p> <p>"Last Tango" reveals how our memories and the human heart changes very little over time and how hard hearts can learn to be forgiving and kind when thrown an unexpected curveball.</p> <p>"Last Tango" takes us to a small village in Yorkshire that serves as the setting, where Sally Wainwright’s romantic late in life romance tale is told.  The writer used her mother’s second marriage as inspiration.</p> <p>A widow and a widower reconnect via Facebook and realize how much they’ve missed each other, and together they explore the vagaries of why they did not marry in the first place. Watching them fall in love all over again is a wonderful thing.</p> <p>***image3:center***</p> <p> </p> <p>Alan (Jacobi) discovers his wife of many years failed to give him a letter that Celia (Reid) – ostensibly her good friend – had written him. Celia, of course, thought she was stood up and Alan thinks Celia just forgot about him. Nothing was further from the truth.</p> <p>The series opens with Alan, who lives with his hard, scrappy daughter (also a widow) Gillian (Nicola Walker) and his grandson Raff (Josh Bolt) on a modest yet picturesque sheep farm. Gillian is a hard worker, not pretentious but damaged from the circumstances of her life. She checks groceries and can pull a transmission out of an old car and fix it.</p> <p>Celia’s done a bit better in the money department. Her daughter Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) is Oxford educated and runs a school, and like Gillian, her love life is in flux too. Wealthy and well appointed in her career, she is married to a ridiculously selfish man and has two sons, Caroline acts out and explores her sexual feelings, long suppressed.</p> <p>The charming drama unfolds as a comedy of errors and miscommunications as the two girls, born on the same day, have an unfortunate first impression of each other, and could not be any further apart in life if they tried.</p> <p>In the meantime, love takes over for Alan and Celia, and it is intense and all powerful, until cracks in their two girls’ lives force Celia’s hand into relearning some unkind bigotry that shocks her beloved Alan.  Themes of family, love and forgiveness underpin a great romantic yarn without schmaltzy cliches and worn out scenarios. It’s interesting and loaded with heart and soul.</p> <p>I refuse to spoil any more of this no miss series; it truly is one of the best TV efforts I have seen in a long time, and I hate to say it, but I loved it more than "Downton Abbey", and I adore that series.</p> <p>Please trust me on this one, and make every effort to catch it.</p> <p> </p> <p><iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/3df_OMT1ogU" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p><strong>On PBS on Sunday nights (check local listings). </strong></p> <p>Happy news: A second season is ordered!</p> <p>Produced by Red Production Company for the BBC. Written by Sally Wainwright; directed by Euros Lynn and Sam Donovan; Ms. Wainwright and Matthew Read, executive producers; Karen Lewis and Nicola Shindler, producers. CAST: Derek Jacobi (Alan), Anne Reid (Celia), Sarah Lancashire (Caroline), Nicola Walker (Gillian), Tony Gardner (John), Dean Andrews (Robbie), Nina Sosanya (Kate), Ronni Ancona (Judith) and Josh Bolt (Raff).</p>Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.

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