‘Tina and Bobby’ Episode 1 review: Michelle Keegan is the sixties’ First Lady of football

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Based on the book, Bobby Moore: By The Person Who Knew Him Best, ITV’s new three-part drama tells the story of the romantic relationship between Tina and Bobby Moore, who was famously the England football captain during the triumphant 1966 World Cup.

“I’ve always had higher hopes for you, Tina Dean.”

Interestingly the story is told more from Tina’s perspective, rather than the couple as a whole, with Michelle Keegan (Coronation Street, Our Girl) taking on the role of the iconic Tina. It’s a role she fits well (as she also does an array of wigs) that showcases Tina’s rise to being the First Lady of football in the sixties.

Directed by the fantastic John McKay (Not Another Happy Ending) and written by Lauren Klee (EastEnders), the production is very well crafted. McKay employs lots of little tricks that evoke the spirit of the time and Klee’s background in drama adds credibility to the show’s more soapy elements.

It’s a tightly packed affair, with the first episode speedily moving from when Tina and Bobby first met in 1957 to the birth of their daughter, Roberta in 1965.

“I’ve got a great future, as Mrs Moore.”

Bobby (Lorne McFadyen) is really pushed as a devoted provider here. Tina’s devotion is also more than obvious, especially in the way she struggles to adapt to the wifely, domestic duties of being a footballer’s wife. While the script does, at times, hammer this home unnecessarily, the chemistry between the two leads is very believable. This is most evident in the scene where Bobby, ashamed over his body after having his testicle removed, breaks down in front of his wife.

It’s a very honest moment and one that epitomises what the story is trying to say about the couple.

McFadyen puts in a humbling performance as Bobby Moore, and it doesn’t hurt that he bears more than a passing resemblance to the footballer. It’s a softly approached performance, that remains respectful to the person he is trying to emulate. He is given some real meat to work with too, dealing with Bobby’s cancer and the pressures of football in the lead up to the ‘66 World Cup.

“Darling, you married a footballer. You might be his wife but the game will always be his mistress.”

The episode is a nicely played start to what could be a very interesting interpretation of the couple’s story. My main issue with Tina and Bobby is that so much is told from Tina’s perspective, when ultimately it is Bobby who is the more engaging figure: his professional career, his upbringing, his health concerns are all touched upon as story elements but never feel as fleshed out as they could be.

The romance is obviously the selling point but the perspective doesn’t quite feel 50/50 here. Perhaps it will in the show’s remaining two episodes. So far though, Tina and Bobby is an interesting look at footballs first golden couple.

Aired at 9pm on Friday 13 January 2017 on ITV.

Order Tina and Bobby on DVD on Amazon here.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know below…

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