After watching last week’s People Like Us I was worried that the Wakefield family wouldn’t feature in this week’s instalment as they weren’t featured on the highlights for this week’s episode. Luckily they were here once again as the focus shifted from oldest daughter Amber to the tumultuous relationship between parents Karen and Paul who are by far my favourite characters in this docusoap.
This week’s drama at the Wakefield house revolves around the birth of nine boxer puppies which of course Paul has to deal with until new owners can be found for them. As we are told their relationship both at home and at the laundrette is that Karen is the boss while Paul does all the work. This work basically includes scooping up all of the waste that the new puppies leave while Karen and her daughters randomly spray air fresheners throughout the house. As we learn in this episode Karen and Paul often argue and here she asks him to move into the laundrette after one of their arguments goes a little bit too far. We later discover that Paul’s upbringing was tough as he was regularly beaten at home and bullied at school until he became the one doing the bullying. He also tells us that he wanted a normal family for as long as he can remember and the family he has now is completely different from the one he had growing up. Though it seems Karen partly misses Paul because he fixes the machines and drives her to the vets it is clear that she misses the man she describes as being her best mate. Paul on the other hand doesn’t believe that Karen would miss him all that much if he wasn’t there though does admit that she loves him.
Eventually the two reconcile after Karen spends her nights silently crying and tells us that losing Paul full time would be like losing her right arm. Gradually the puppies are sold which sees an upset Maddie seek comfort from her father who freely admits that he doesn’t know how to show emotion though I felt he did alright here. As we see from the end of the episode Paul and Karen’s relationship is seemingly back on track as she instructs him to make her breakfast while he tells us that if it wasn’t for her he’d either be in prison or dead. I just love the Wakefield family so much and they’re part of what makes People Like Us as good as it is and I feel you need one regular set of characters throughout the series. The Wakefields are full of charm and with a younger daughter who likes to dress up in a cow costume when they go to Tesco’s what’s not to love?
This week we also met Pidge who is eight weeks into living away from home in a shared house in which he enjoys his own space but hates the state that the kitchen is in. Despite having only lived at his house for a couple of months Pidge is already being asked to leave by his landlord Nik Taylor who is sick of the complaints being made against his newest tenant who insists on having parties until the early hours. As we learn Pidge has already been arrested seven times within the eight weeks of living at the house and is now rebelling against the eviction notice that has been served by leaving all of his rubbish in the front garden. We also meet Pidge’s landlord Nik a man who has owned houses up and down the country and owns many properties in Harpurhey which he rents out for low prices to target people on housing benefits. Nik, who reminds me a lot of Spaced actor Mark Heap, can’t understand the youngsters’ need to constantly drink and take drugs because when he was their age he was busy studying only straying from his books to play the odd game of Monopoly. In fact I think we can attribute his love of Monopoly, and perhaps some other board games, to the fact that he is a landlord and that he can also think of a strategic way to get Pidge out of the house.
The problem is that Pidge has now legally made impossible for Nik to remove the rubbish from his front garden as he has verbally told him to keep of his property a request that Nik then had to type up essentially banning himself from his own property. Pidge once again causes a disturbance during his 21st birthday party however he later resigns himself to the fact that he’s not going to win his eviction case and instead moves back into his old room at his mum’s house. Hilariously though Pidge leaves one last present for Nik as he finds dog excrement up the wall which is a recurring theme throughout this episode. I personally really hope this isn’t the last we see of Nik as his one-liners about his adolescence were hilarious and his continued attempts to get his rowdy tenant to leave his property was like something out of a sitcom.
As we’ve been told several times throughout People Like Us, crime is high in Harpurhey and this week we’re out on the beat with 24 year old PC Jim Evans. Jim’s life isn’t as glamorous as say an officer in the Metropolitan Police as his daily routine seems to be confronting people who urinate in public and those having a bit of adult time in their car before claiming to be eating a cornflake tart when he accosts them. One extended set piece sees Jim and his colleagues heading off to ASDA to apprehend two men who are getting drunk on stolen booze one of whom won’t stop headbutting the side of the police van they throw him into. Funnier still is that this man’s accomplice has his bike stolen while stealing the booze from ASDA with Jim telling us he has very little sympathy for the guy. As we see in the ASDA crime a lot of the arrests in Harpurhey have something to do with alcohol and this is demonstrated when we spent a night on the beat with Jim’s colleagues Sheryl and Avril. The pair note that the majority of the crime on the estates are caused by the same people getting drunk and throwing bottles at each other with tipples of choice apparently being Lambrini for the women and cheap Special Brew or White Lightning for the guys. Ultimately while I think it was a good idea to look at the crime situation in Harpurhey I felt this story was a little rushed and wasn’t as complete as the other three featured in this episode.
Finally sort of a comedy storyline as we follow new friends Arrol and Patrick who have recently bonded over their shared love of beauty treatments. The pair have organised to go away for a boozy package holiday to Greece, or Chavos as they refer to their destination, but before that happens they have to make themselves look beautiful. This includes getting their eyebrows shaped using Wow Brow something that will help turn the eyebrows of Arrol into those of Megan Fox and is also a process the pair feel that The Queen should indulge in. We see them also go through other pre-holiday rituals which include haircuts, spray tans and dishing out the holiday T-Shirts which compare all the holiday-goers to various Coronation Street characters. As they depart Patrick is hoping for a holiday where he gets tanned all day and drinks all night to the extent that he can’t remember how he got back to his room the next day. Unfortunately the lack of anything to do coupled with the alcohol meant that Patrick and Arrol had a massive falling out and return from Kavos no longer friends after a trip that was all vodka and drama. Both thought the other would be a friend for life but realise that if they couldn’t get through a holiday together than their friendship wouldn’t stand the test of time and it was best if they went their separate ways.
Overall this was yet another enjoyable episode of People Like Us with another great story featuring the Wakefields as well as the introduction of landlord Nik Taylor who I hope to see return to the show in the near future. Part way through the episode I was wondering what made this such a great programme and then those involved spelt it out for me it’s because it focuses on an area that is fairly deprived but where people make the most of what they’ve got. While the show looks at the ups and downs of life ultimately these are people who look out for each when times are tough and for me that’s what separates People Like Us from other inferior docu-soaps.
Did enjoy this episode of People Like Us? What did you think to the new characters that were featured? Leave Your Comments Below.