Shiny Shelf

Rescue Me

By Mark Clapham on 24 November 2002

Meet Katie. She’s being divorced by the husband she loves because she slept with his best friend. Think Bridget Jones, think Ally McBeal, think Carrie from Sex and the City. Think Chicklit.

Meet Eddie. He’s a fat guy, a bit of a nerd, and carries a torch for Katie even though she barely notices him. Think High Fidelity, think that Nick Hornby-esque everyman.

Now put them both on the staff of a woman’s magazine (lots of excuses to get into personal issues through Katie’s articles), with a supporting cast including a heartbreaking lothario photographer, a couple of waspish designers and a coterie of attractive young women, and you have ‘Rescue Me’, a beautifully executed British response to those aforementioned single-women-in-crisis US comedy drama. The remarkable thing is how much it holds it own against such opposition, being slick, funny and touching.

The production values are well above BBC average, the direction is good, the cast are great and the scripts are crammed with nuances and funny jokes. And through it all there’s Sally Phillips as Katie, our lovelorn heroine, trying to hold her life together in the wake of her collapsed marriage. Phillips is such a natural star working with this material that it eems odd she’s been a supporting player for so long.

This is a good British comedy drama from the BBC, and that in itself must constitute a minor miracle. While the source material may be a couple of years past its prime, for an industry that seems to have barely advanced beyond the days of ‘Bergerac’ that constitutes a definite result. We need more shows like these, then we may be able to look the American TV industry in the eye again.

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By Mark Clapham

Mark Clapham is a Devon-based writer and editor. You can find out more about him at the egotistically named

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