Buried somewhere in the depths of ITV’s Edge of Heaven is a half decent series desperate to entertain and amuse audiences but so far the series has been a major disappointment.
The show is billed as a comedy drama but that largely seems to be a way of excusing it for not being very funny because the ‘drama’ is even harder to find then the gags.
While leads Camille Coduri and Blake Harrison give it their all, the whole thing looks and feels like a Little Britain pastiche.
And the shift in tone between scenes makes it feel as if the episodes have been edited together from various incomplete shows ITV’s had laying around its editing suite for years.
But the biggest let-down is the presence of the two camp ‘comedy’ gays played by Adrian Scarborough and Robert Evans.
Their characters – both called Gary, one even camper than the other so ‘affectionately’ named ‘Camp’ Gary – seem to be based on Bernard Manning’s idea of what gay men are like.
The fussing, sofa-adoring, limp-wrist campery of this pair is yawnsome and offensive. They make Julian and Sandy look like Rambo.
Exaggerated stereotypes are a common feature in many shows but for most of broadcasting history that’s all gay men have been. More sympathetic portrayals, such as those found in Jonathan Harvey’s much missed Beautiful People, are still very much the exception.
To watch British TV you’d think most of those involved in programme making and commissioning had never met a gay man and had to rely on retellings of something a relative’s ‘mate’ once saw in the 1950s.
It’s almost as if Queer as Folk had never happened, as if Russell T Davies had never shown how to get both comedy and drama from gay men without making them all mincing queens with weak wrists and a doily obsession.
That QAF remains the high water mark in TV’s depiction of gay men 15 years after it aired should shame both broadcasters and TV writers.