‘Tina and Bobby’ review: Episode 2 pushes all the right emotional buttons

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Last week’s opening episode of ITV’s Tina and Bobby biopic highlighted the romantic early days of football’s golden couple.

However, this second episode (of three) deals with more of the emotional fall-out as the couple faced personal and professional challenges. As a result, the drama is suitably heightened.

“Who’d have thought it, eh? East End boy, son of a gas fitter.”

After last week’s ep focused on Tina, this episode respectfully highlights Bobby more, building to a strong climax. Lorne McFadyen is clearly comfortable playing the footballer, adding a subtle layer of arrogance and excess to his role that slowly pushes him and Tina further apart. This builds into a great set of sequences as he drinks excessively before a match, fights with the club manager and is even arrested in Bogota, for stealing a bracelet.  All of which adds weight to their marital troubles.

“Tina, I don’t know what I did to deserve a daughter as wonderful as you.”

Arguably one of the episode’s finest sequences comes from the revelation that Betty, Tina’s mother, has an inoperable brain tumour and to see her slip away so quickly makes for really emotional viewing.

Patsy Kensit has done a lovely job of portraying the doting mother. Her deathbed goodbye is a stand out sequence and Kensit carries it off with real gravitas.

Major highlights are shown from their lives together: as well as the Bogota arrest we have the birth of their second child Dean and the continuing paparazzi interest in the pair continuing to build. Tina and Bobby go up in the world, with celebrity endorsements that leads the world to see them less as a happily married couple, but more as public property. While this is a lifestyle Bobby embraces, Tina is more affected by it.

“I dreamed I didn’t recognize him last night. What if it’s a sign?”

The final straw in the episode comes from a kidnap attempt being made against Tina and the kids. The threat is treated like a game by both Bobby and the police and Tina is clearly irked by it. The problem is that, as a plot point, it is over before it’s began, so Tina’s later argument over what their lives are like seems petty.

Of course, the show is still melodramatic in parts, as is any real life story created to entertain over just three hours. There is no real sense of danger built from the kidnap attempt story.

Also, the sequence where Tina uses her au pair in a blonde wig to double for her, in front of the paparazzi, seems camp and a little cheesy. That said, Keegan is doing her very best to honour the turmoil of the character she is portraying. The scenes involving her mother’s tumour are all excellently played and her final scene with Bobby shows more of Keegan’s range.

Tina and Bobby impresses more here than last week as things seems better balanced with the performances, while the drama pushes all the right emotional buttons.

Aired at 9pm on Friday 20 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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