This new four part comedy-drama by David Allison – a previously pretty much unheard of writer – followed a format that was loosely based on Freaky Friday in that two people ‘swap’ bodies…
I was expecting it to be a clichéd yawn, and there were without doubt a zillion clichés but then again, clichés are clichés because they happen often enough to become clichés… it was funny stuff and I really wasn’t expecting it to be, so I can see that David Allison may well become a much-in-demand writer, assuming the other three parts were as good as last night’s.
In a nutshell, the story revolves around Danny and Veronica who, during a bolt of lightening, and due to their close proximity to each other, ‘swap’ into each others bodies. Danny – played by Martin Freeman of The Office fame – was out nicking copper piping to plump up his modest income as a DIY store employee while Veronica – played by Rachael Stirling who portrayed the type of lesbian men fantasise about in Tipping The Velvet – was stranded as her car had broken down.
Danny’s a scruffy, kinda hopeless, aimless but amiable bloke while Veronica’s a high-flying fashion journalist of the SATC kind; loves fashion, shoes, handbags and so forth. This first episode centred on Danny becoming Veronica, so we primarily got to see Rachael as Veronica trying to adjust to life as Danny on the inside while being the stunning Veronica on the outside…
The first Danny knew about what’s occurrin’ – as Gavin and Stacey’s Nessa might say – is when he wakes in hospital to find himself in Veronica’s body. He did the whole ‘checking himself out thing’ which – once he’d got his head around it – he found great amusement in. Well, he is a bloke and having a set of not unpleasant boobies to play with is one of the perks of having teleported or whatever into a woman’s body. And later, he discovered what it’s like to have an orgasm from a woman’s perspective, courtesy of Veronica’s buzzy friend.
However, challenging times were ahead in the form of learning to walk in heels and how the hell a bra works but worse still were the amorous advances of Veronica’s boyfriend, Jay, played by the brilliant Paterson Joseph.
And it got worse when he found out that Veronica is knocking off her best friend’s boyfriend, Ali, who’s a bit of an up-himself kno*head.
But once he’d managed to figure all that out – and in the pursuit of finding his original body – he decided to make use of his new self and made a visit to the store where he’d worked and to his delight, found out that a girl he’d fancied for ages but didn’t have the cahones to ask out – Fiona, played by Angela Griffin – was very keen to talk to Veronica about the fact Danny had gone missing, so of course that must mean she fancies him too… unless it’s that she fancies the tall, beautiful female reporter who’s asking about Danny. Well, that’s men for you, even when they’re women, because either way, Danny’s onto a potential winner there!
It was great fun watching Danny as Veronica lying on her expensive couch, smoking fags and slobbing out while enjoying all the gadgetry her up-market pad afforded for his/her entertainment.
Meanwhile, the real Veronica – who’s now in Danny’s body – hadn’t got a Scooby what to do in her new body and had to resort to begging on the street for money.
The real Danny then spotted himself – as in, his own body – on the news caught up in the middle of a demonstration so he then had a clue as to where to start looking for his physical self anyway…
The next episode is going to centre on Veronica as Danny and we’ll get to see more of Freeman as Veronica struggles desperately with her ‘new’ life as she wanders the streets as Danny; homeless, penniless and desperate to make someone understand that he is, in fact, really a woman, which, as Dame Edna could vouch for, isn’t easy.
Despite the obvious ‘Freaky Friday’ and ‘Big’ type clichés, this was a very amusing and watchable hour and I’ll most definitely be tuning in for the next three episodes. Both Rachael Sterling and Martin Freeman put in excellent performances but as this episode was more ‘Veronica centric’, obviously we got to see more of Sterling acting the role of Danny-stuck-in-Veronica’s-body, which she pulled off magnificently.
The double entendres in that last paragraph weren’t on purpose but of course, it’s gonna happen when you’re describing gender/body swapping…
If you missed it, you can catch up with it on ITV’s player, and I highly recommend that you do!