Rejoining the ladies of Kay Mellor’s acclaimed drama, In the Club, we fast forward to nine months (how fitting) after the events of the first season’s finale.
However, all of the ladies are coping in very different ways with their new additions.
“If I were Neil, I’d leave me… find someone else. Fact is, he’s probably planning to do exactly that.”
Katherine Parkinson’s Kim seems to be having the worst time of it in this opening episode. Trapped in a monotonous, sexless cycle of nappies, sleepless nights and breastfeeding, Kim’s story seems to paint an initially bleak picture of new motherhood. This is made all the worse by the discovery that her ex-lover Susie (Tara Fitzgerald) is in a new relationship and that Neil knew about it and kept it a secret from her.
A similar set of hopeless circumstances seems to have befallen Roanna (the always excellent Hermione Norris) and her lover, Simon. The couple, now living in a rented flat, are struggling to find a mutual parenting style and this is sure to be a source of frustration as the episodes go on. Her story, along with Jill Halfpenny’s Diane is slightly sidelined this week, to allow others to shine in this opening episode.
“I’m just renting out my womb. 10k for delivering a healthy baby.”
Whilst it is great to catch up with how the series regulars are doing, new blood is always welcome. Sandra Huggett (The Scandalous Lady W) joins the cast as Maxine, and newcomer Gemma Dobson as her daughter, Shelly.
Shelly is uninterested in motherhood and is acting as a surrogate to a gay couple, however it is her mothers story that is probably more compelling. Finding a newborn baby in the toilet of the maternity clinic, it has been subtly implied that the baby is Maxine’s and this will no doubt continue to play out, given how involved Maxine feels towards the child. Ex-Hollyoaks star Claire Cooper is also welcome, as Susie’s new lover, Claire.
“I must be a horrible person for this to happen.”
Of course, any Kay Mellor has tragedy to balance out the realism and humour. Sadly, in this first episode this falls to regulars Jasmin (Taj Atwal) and Dev (Sacha Dhawan) who discover that they may lose one or more of their unborn children due to a prenatal complication. Atwal in particular is very affecting in her scenes, demanding a lot of her so early in the season, while still balancing a fine line in comedy.
All of these elements, as well as a Christening for baby Dinah and a birth in a broken lift add a real excitement and drama to this first episode.
A very welcome return!
Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 3 May 2016 on BBC One.
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