Three of Britain’s best acting talents got together last Monday and Tuesday night to answer the question everyone has wondered about at some point: will I fall in love on public transport today?
Of course, it certainly helps if the stranger who strikes up a conversation with you is as dashing as David Morrisey or as pretty as Sheridan Smith. Not so helpful when the man is married to Olivia Colman, with whom he has two kids, and the other woman is engaged. Such is the premise of The 7.39, a two-part drama.
David Nicholls, writer of One Day (the excellent book and terrible movie) scribes this grown-up love story. It doesn’t come remotely close to being as good as it could have been. This is mainly Nicholls fault – his script is as thrilling as cleaning the kitchen floor. When a huge chunk of the drama takes place in a confined space you’d expect the dialogue to be good enough to keep you hooked; oh, how disappointed you will be. It’s not that the script is cringe-worthy, it’s just perfectly okay – and that’s simply not good enough from a best-selling author and we should all shake our heads vigorously in his direction.
It’s not all average though, there are a few moments where it really hits the mark. Unfortunately these mostly happen in the second episode, so if you’re not bored to tears by the first then you might find yourself curious about how it all ends. Predictably, unfortunately is the answer. Really, if you don’t see the ending coming you should get yourself down to Specsavers.
The three main actors do what they can to make up for its flaws, but there’s only so much they can do– even when they’re as talented as Sheridan Smith and Olivia Colman. They only really get to show off in the last portion of the finale. In fact, the first episode barely uses Colman at all. It should be a crime to give someone that talented so little to do. It’s just a shame David Morrisey doesn’t get the same chance. Instead, he’s left scraping the script barrel for anything that might remotely challenge him. If you need proof of his acting pedigree, he was The Governor in The Walking Dead. Muse on that if for some unknown reason you find yourself watching The 7.39.
Don’t worry if you choose to completely ignore The 7.39, no one is going to be talking about it anytime soon. It’s a thoroughly average piece of drama that misses more than it hits. If it wasn’t for the excellent actors doing their best with what they were given, it would have been a complete disaster. Well done them.