A few days ago, I was worrying that 22 years after seeing “Tutti Frutti”, I might have changed so that, what I found hysterically funny in 1987, was no more than ordinary now.
Oh Ye, of little faith.
Once again, in 2009 I found myself laughing uncontrollably at the antics of The Majestics. It’s probably a decent interval, 22 years, so that you can completely forget some of the key twists in the story line. I could watch most of it as if I was seeing it for the first time. And strangely, unlike some programmes you watch on TV, this one seemed as up to date as you could imagine. Alright, they were watching CRT televisions, they drove around in a Morris Minor Estate and a first generation Transit and they used those old telephones with the dial that you put your finger in to dial the number, but the essence of the story is as “Today” as you could want.
The thing that I don’t remember so much from 1987, was the sexual chemistry which Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson wove between each other. She’s not classically particularly beautiful, although I have to admit I find her disturbingly attractive (it must be my age!), and he’s a 280 lb rotund guy, who at first sight, you can’t imagine anyone falling for.
But, how wrong can you be. Their relationship is the centrepiece of the series, and their exquisite acting, exploring the way a real and proper relationship can develop is quite wonderful. They play the development from their first meeting with great skill, true acting. The gradual erosion of the typically male Scottish defence mechanisms is played out perfectly by Robbie Coltrane. He does not move on from any emotional base without a clear hand on the next one along the line, just in case his advances do not meet with the response he wants. He is always looking for slight, however slight, and rejection where none should be found.
Just like real life, actually. To these eyes, the final scene between them is a piece of acting, writing and filming perfection. I loved it to bits.
When you look back, the whole programme was a bit of a watershed. I can’t recall seeing anything that I’d categorise as a “Black” comedy on TV before this. It’s the sort of programme that has you laughing completely without control at one moment, but a few seconds later you find yourself among moments of great sadness, death and disillusionment. You can be forgiven for wondering if these two polarised emotional states should be found together in what is called a comedy drama.
I’ve no idea what it could possibly be like to be in a (very) Second Rate Rock and Roll Band, whose success, such as it was, has clearly been many years in the past, and for whom the future looms depressingly downwards in front of them, but, I can well believe that this 6 hour series gets it spot on.
As I said at the beginning, I’ve watched it twice over the last few days, and I’m sitting here wondering whether to get Disc 1 out again to see it for a third time. I know there are many more important things in life that a TV series, but sometimes you just have to follow your heart.