Shiny Shelf

Mine All Mine

By Eddie Robson on 26 November 2004

Quite peculiar watching this light comedy-drama in the knowledge that it comes from the pen of the man who’s doing the new series of ‘Doctor Who’, but the versatility of Russell T Davies has never really been in doubt. After last year’s ‘The Second Coming’, which dealt with issues which most contemporary TV dramatists daren’t even think about, ‘Mine All Mine’ is jolly, imaginative mainstream fare.

The plot sounds like something out of an Ealing comedy: cab driver Max Vivaldi (Griff Rhys Jones), mocked by friends and family for his daft get-rich-quick schemes and ancestral claim to the entire city of Swansea, is informed by a visiting antiques expert that the latter foible is completely justified. The claim on the land is genuine and some peculiarities in the terms mean that all the ground upon which the city is built is due to revert to him.

Like ‘The Second Coming’, it’s not easy to guess how it’ll end. Despite having another four episodes of this to go, Davies keeps up an impressive screwball pace thanks to a large cast of characters and plenty of comic riffs. It’s cheerfully coincidence-ridden, as Max’s wife leaves him almost immediately before his claim on Swansea (which she believes is insane) is confirmed, and his daughter’s boyfriend has just dumped her the day before (one can see what’s in store in these plotlines, at least).

Such coincidences are as irrelevant as the unlikelihood of the entire scenario, as this is playful ‘what if?’ stuff which is designed to explore how ordinary people might react under bizarre circumstances. The more incident one can pack into the screen-time, the more value one gets out of the concept. So, in fact, maybe it does give us an idea of what Davies’ ‘Doctor Who’ will be like.

Oh, and… who’s that in the very last shot of the episode, playing the granddad of the family? Why, it’s John Scott Martin, a Dalek operator of 25 years’ experience. His presence has always been a sign of a fanboy behind the scenes – although Davies’ recent activities have rather pre-empted the fun of media fanboy-spotting.

Line Break

By Eddie Robson

Comments are closed.