From There to Here on DVD

Sunday, 08 June 2014 23:00 Written by 

From There To Here - out now on DVDThis three-part drama series from the BBC begins with the IRA’s 1996 Manchester city centre bombing. The explosion causes ripples that forever change the lives of two families. At the centre of the story is Daniel Cotton (Gene Hunt himself - Philip Glenister of Ashes to Ashes fame), the MD of a family-run sweet company who, despite being happily married, falls in love with fellow victim Joanna (Liz White of Life on Mars fame, working again with Glenister), and has to deal with the consequences.

The series also stars the iconic Bernard Hill (Yosser Hughes of Boys from the Blackstuff) as Daniel’s droll father, Saskia Reeves (Luther) as his loving wife, Steven Mackintosh (“Underworld: Evolution”) as his off-the-rails brother, Daniel Rigby (Big School) as Dan’s business-savvy son and Ben Batt (Shameless) as one of Joanna's sons. The mini-series was written by Peter Bowker, the man responsible for Blackpool and Occupation, and directed by James Strong (Broadchurch, Doctor Who).

Over the course of the three hour-long episodes, a wealth of plot strands are weaved into the narrative including Dan's efforts to juggle and keep secret his two lives, his son's bid to drag the sweet business into the 21st Century, the brother’s dubious and dangerous schemes to keep his night club afloat and the political aspirations of Dan's daughter (Morven Christie - Hunted).

In general each story element is given ample time to evolve and work off each other, but one or two do feel a little under-developed or are slightly neutered to keep the surprisingly upbeat tone and swift pacing intact. Despite the subtext of terrorism and extramarital naughtiness, the series bounces along and does not get mired in too much misery and introspection, and is refreshingly watchable for that reason.

The series is also canny in its constant references to the England football team's nail-biting campaign in the 1996 European Championships - just in time to ride the current wave of soccer mania associated with the 2014 World Cup!

The characterisation is excellent and the acting matches it, with notable turns from Hill who made me laugh on numerous occasions whilst also being the voice of experience and reason, and Glenister proves beyond doubt that he can play more varied roles than just the gruff, permanently angry thug he so often gets type-cast as. White and Reeves are superb as the two women in Dan’s life, both seeking his full attention and struggling to comprehend why he cannot give it.

Music supervisor Rob Da Bank does a brilliant job of capturing the essence of the era and Manchester in his selection of tracks from the likes of Oasis, Happy Mondays, Joy Division and New Order. Those considering purchasing this DVD should be aware, however, that it apparently contains music edits for 'contractual reasons'. As I watched the broadcast version I cannot say what impact those edits might have.

From There to Here is a wonderful mini-series, and as with the best TV drama you are torn between wishing the makers would develop it further into a full-blown, long-running programme whilst secretly hoping they leave it where it finishes for fear of the impact being diluted. Either way, these three episodes are well worth the investment.

From There to Here (2014) is out now on DVD, courtesy of RLJ Entertainment. The main feature has a running time of 180 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £17.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

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