Last Night’s TV – Freefall


“Freefall tackles head on the extraordinary financial crisis we are currently living through. Written and directed by multiple-Bafta Award-winning Dominic Savage, the film dives into the events that have caused turmoil in so many people’s lives.

“Tautly and delicately interwoven, the film follows the lives of three men with everything on the line. Gus (Aidan Gillen) is the high-flying city exec who packages and sells bundles of mortgages for extortionate profit.

“Dave (Dominic Cooper) is the mortgage broker who can make anything happen, and when Dave offers Jim (Joseph Mawle), his old school friend, a way out of the council flat he and his family have been stuck in for years, it’s an offer that is too good to refuse.”

This was the BBC’s own description of Freefall and actually – for once – it did exactly what it said on the tin. The addition of Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud was quite interesting too; I enjoy seeing a famous face outside of their usual context – like Angela Rippon that time on Morecambe and Wise – and the girl done good.

From the pen of Dominic Savage, this was a really believable drama which took us behind the scenes of the credit crunch to see how it affected a few of the links in the monetary food chain. Dave could flog ice to Eskimos with his boyish good looks and inherent charm, and he palmed off mortgages wholesale. Gus was a highly strung, highly sexed banker – and yes, the potential double entendres did apply to him – and Jim and his wife were the poor schleps who were talked into taking on a mortgage they didn’t stand a snowball in hells chance of repaying.

Given the nature of this drama, there was a great deal of insider speak bandied about which I won’t even attempt to interpret, and in fact the entire plot shot off into so many different sub-plots, I’d be here rambling on for a week if I went into them all. So, instead of trying – and probably failing – to summarise those, if you missed Freefall, you can see it on BBC iPlayer here. It’s for the best and I promise not to give the ending away, so read on without fear of a spoiled show…

It really is worth watching because Savage provided a very timely narrative about the ‘must have’ ethos that got us all into this fine mess Stanley in the first place. It also ably demonstrated the very human cost of being a victim of the material world.

Apropos of the writing, and indeed the acting, it was all skilfully done; half sentences which could’ve parlayed into stuttering and clumsy segues avoided doing so and seemed entirely natural, as if this was a docu-drama. And the outcomes that may have seemed inevitable, such as someone topping themselves, turned out differently than expected and overall, the moral of the tale was one which all loyal Thatcherites might do well to note; there’s more to life than money and possessions.

Jim arguably came out of it as a winner in all the ways that matter because while the other characters led less than enviable and lonely lives – even when they were raking in money – he still had his family to cling to in the choppy and shark infested waters of debt.

He was a security guard and old friend of Dave’s, but friendship doesn’t count for much where money’s concerned it would seem. Dave managed to convince Jim that he needed, just plain needed, a big mortgage round his neck instead of staying put in the modest council flat that he’d been happy enough in until told he wasn’t.

And there wasn’t much sign of friendship around when Dave was coming on to Jim’s missus either, but again, he was the one who lost out as Jim’s family unit stood tall against the winds of ruin. I do so love a good metaphor! And actually, that’s really what this drama was – a metaphor for the message that greed and a lack of morals will come back to haunt you.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s a timely message though, coming as it does while we’re all trying to claw back a sense of stability and security and perhaps realising that it’s not that important after all to own everything that the free world can sell us, or to always want bigger, better and more and more. Settle for what you have and don’t confuse ambition with greed was what I took from Freefall.

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.