True Love: Review of Episode 4 – featuring the amazing Jane Horrocks and Alexander Siddig

by Matt D

Now we’re into episode four, those of who have been watching True Love from the beginning are trying to put these stories in some sort of chronological order, especially today where we met David again, who yesterday was having an affair with Holly, this time focusing on his marriage to Jane Horrocks’ Sandra which obviously is anything but a happy one.

When we first see them they are saying goodbye to their daughter who has gone to university, with Sandra finding it hard to let go. Once they leave her on her own it seems that Sandra and David are drifting apart as is evidenced by a scene in a café where they both sit on opposite sides of a table, she gazing out into the distance while he is busy on work calls to such charmingly sounding individuals as Nobby and One-Eyed Simon. Now with an empty nest, Sandra attempts to salvage what seems to be a loveless marriage by going out for a meal with David, however she realises that they’ve lost their spark and accuses him of burying his head in the sand. As we know from seeing yesterday’s episode, David is having his cake and eating it too so I felt that we were already willing Sandra to leave him before anything had really happened.

Sandra’s new lease of life comes in the form of a possible new relationship, this is True Love after all, this time it is with charming Middle Eastern man Ismail. He comes into her trinket-filled shop to buy a brooch for his mother and later is concerned for her after she seems to be down in the dumps. Ismail is everything that David isn’t – he asks her questions, he is kind to her and he sees that she needs someone to take her away from the life of duty she has lived up to this point. Sandra is someone who got married too young and had to stay with her husband because of their child but now in her own words wants to escape forever with the man that she thinks she’s known in a previous life. Obviously David starts to realise that something may be going on, despite Sandra cooking up some sort of full-proof alibi about a French class, and finally realises what his wife had been telling him that their marriage wasn’t what it was. He then starts being more attentive, buying her flowers and generally being more interested in her life which he should’ve been from day one however is it far too late to salvage the marriage that he has bothered with for so long?

This episode to me feels a bit different than those that have come before it mainly due to the central relationship which is more about companionship than sexuality. The scenes in which Ismail and Sandra begin their affair are done very slowly with conversations at the beach and later on holding each other’s hands which to me signified that this was deeper than just a sexual relationship. The nature of Ismail and Sandra’s relationship leant itself well to the seaside locations and for me this is the best that the Margate setting has been utilised up to this point in the series. Though it took me a while to adjust to the accent she was putting on, Horrocks was great in the role of a woman who had been a mother rather than a wife and now was at a loss of what to do next. For me though she had more chemistry with Alexander Siddig’s Ismail than she did with her husband as I struggled to believe that her and Charlie Creed-Miles’s David were ever a couple. That’s not putting anything against his performance as he was able to give us a fully-rounded character after yesterday simply coming across as a bit of a wideboy. As you’ve known throughout the week my biggest pet peeve has been the music with my verdict in this episode being that while Mumford and Sons suited Sandra’s story the same song was used too many times for any of the soundtrack to have much meaning.

Overall Sandra’s story was very reminiscent of Shirley Valentine as both showed a woman who was trying to be more than just a wife and to some extent both succeeded. As has been the case all week the performances are top notch and for me this was the episode in which Margate was used in the right way the only major problem was buying that Sandra and David were ever a happy couple in the first place. What I’ve started wondering now is where all of these stories fit in with each other such as was David having his affair with Holly at the start of the episode or had it already cooled off? I had even more questions about the second in tonight’s True Love double bill the review of which will be coming up shortly.

Have you been watching True Love? What did you think of Sandra’s episode? Leave Your Comments Below.


  1. Pete Diamond on June 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I caught the series by accident, and saw episode 3 Holly first, which I thought was the best. I like Billie Piper as an actress anyway so was not disappointed. I then caught up through Iplayer. The episodes are all faily short at less than 30 minutes, so catching up is “simples”.

    I agree that the music was good, but too much the same through episode 4. I thought that the acting is great, the storyline easy to follow, and you, the viewer, fill in the gaps. Overall I’m glad I stumbled upon this drama series 🙂

  2. Tim Dews on June 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Having watched the series from the start I was impressed by the way that complete stories were told in the space of half an hour. The fact the the actors were allowed to improvise gave an authenticity to the dialogue which even the best of script writers can rarely achieve. Too few episodes is my only gripe. Loved the music and Holly’s episode was beautifully handled. It was a controversial subject that could have been seedy and grubby but wasn’t. All in all, a great series with wonderful performances.

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