The most striking thing about last night’s Framed – other than the Welsh scenery – was that Trevor Eve, playing main protagonist Quentin Lester, has been practicing his shouting. Eve has always been prone to raising his voice operatically to provide emphasis, but he really took it to another level in last night’s show.
However, overall, Framed provided gentle, if ‘vanilla’, watching for the main part – shouting aside – and was typically inoffensive BBC Bank Holiday fayre; the sort of thing that every family member can watch without fear of shocking granny or having to sit beside your parents while on-screen, someone simulates breathless nookie.
There was a love interest for Quentin, but given that she was prone to saying things like, “the heart has its reasons” it was unlikely she was going to be doing any kit removal.
The story was based on Frank Cottrell Boyce’s adaptation of his own book which sees the curator of the National Gallery – Eve’s character – taking refuge in a Welsh underground bunker, as per Churchill’s instructions during the war, in order to protect precious paintings after a flood at the gallery caused panic.
What followed was Lester’s interaction with the primarily certifiable villagers – well, it was Wales – and much trite, clichéd townie-meets-yokels fun. There was also the aforementioned love interest in the form of a local teacher whom fashion forgot, Angharad, played breathlessly by Eve Myles. Add to that an emotional breakthrough with the local butcher and a town veritably gasping to be artistically relieved, and you have a story awash with sentiment to the point of being syrupy.
However, the main storyline centred around Quentin’s association with little Dylan – lovingly portrayed by the talented young Samuel Davies – a boy whose father had abandoned him along with his tired and angst ridden mam and sister who had a fondness for Quavers with milk. Ew. Dylan’s love of art and the friendship that sprang up between him and Lester provided the main canvas upon which the rest of the drama was drawn, and it was Disney-esque in its quaintness and inevitable happy ending.
And happy it was for we saw that Angharad and Quentin were expecting the pitter patter of tiny feet and the entire community of Manod got to share in hosting some of the most expensive paintings in the world. It certainly required a sizeable dose of suspension of disbelief to swallow the idea that the National Gallery would permit some of its most prized exhibits to hang in the butcher’s shop amid mince and offal.
Overall, it was one of those films that you can smile benevolently about afterwards and that granny would’ve happily fallen asleep in front of, only to wake and proclaim “I was watching that!” if you try to turn it over.