Last Night’s TV – Married Single Other

by Lynn Connolly

This new show has, as I’m sure you’re aware, been much touted, and the pedestal upon which ITV tried to set it was, so we were told, comparable to that upon which Cold Feet came to rest.

It’s a tall order this business of being as good as Cold Feet, and I’m afraid for me, Married Single Other fell off the ladder on its way up to the summit of Cold Feet’s pedestal. So far, that is. There’s obviously time for it to improve.

It’s not that it’s not good; it’s just not Cold Feet good – yet – so I think ITV shot itself in the foot by offering up that comparison. It would’ve been better to start us off with no expectation or bench-mark, then we would’ve judged it on merit rather than by association.

But let’s face it, anything which lists Ralf Little, Dean Lennox Kelly, Miranda Raison and Lucy Davis among its cast isn’t going to fail. Well, not completely anyway.

However, one thing that irritated me from the get go with Married Single Other was the presence of – it seems the almost obligatory – wiseass kid. They seem to be endemic in sitcoms and romcoms, and I have to wonder, why give clearly adult lines and personae to children? If you want kids in a thing, write them as kids, not smart aleck wannabe grown-ups.

Joe, played artfully I must concede, by Jack Scanlon is “a prodigy” according to the blurb, but aren’t they all? Remember Michael from My Family? As I said, I just find it an irritant that big words are put in little mouths and we’re expected to take it on faith that any child anywhere would actually say such things. They wouldn’t.

However, that whine aside, Clint – one of the ‘singles’ of the title and played by Ralf Little – was a joy. His pursuit of jaded-by-life model Abbey was perhaps somewhat clichéd, but Ralf brings an on-screen presence that not even his character’s passé modus operandi could ruin.

And co-star Dean Lennox Kelly, I’m happy to report, spent a good deal of the series opener sans shirt. I don’t know really why, but I’m not going to look a gift-horse in the mouth…

Dean played Dickie – a ‘married’ – who’s a lovable layabout and a dreamer and married to the long-suffering Babs (Amanda Abbington) who’s on the verge of jumping the marital ship.

Lillie and Eddie, played by Lucy Davis and Shaun Dooley respectively made up the ‘other’ category and, although they’ve been together for 16 years, Lillie steadfastly refuses to commit to marrying the soppy romantic Eddie. Their son is Joe, the ‘prodigy’ kid, and he badly wants them to marry.

So, will I become an avid follower of Married Single Other? Erm, I’m not sure yet. I’ll have to watch it next week to be sure of the answer to that one because to be fair, one episode was not a very long time to introduce all those characters and to make me want to know how it all goes for them.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.