Did we like it?
With a cast full of young stars who’ve grown up a bit, we thought this medical drama set in the London street oozing with private doctors might be good. We hoped it would have some high camp elements. We assumed it had been crafted with skill by writer Marston Bloom. WRONG. It may be slightly better than Bonekickers – the worst drama series of the year since that one about old lags with Anthony Head in it – but it is still unwatchable.
What was good about it?
• The production values. It didn’t look cheap.
What was bad about it?
• The cost of achieving the high production values would have been better spent on making an enjoyable new drama and hiring some actors who could inject some charisma and chemistry.
• Paul Nicholls inability to act like a grown-up as Harley Street practitioner Dr Robert Fielding. He has a posh voice, an Audi, Armani suits, bouffanted hair and a serious demeanour (when he wasn’t laying on the charm ot get his next shag) but he wasn’t at all good and was even overshadowed by episode one guest star Will Mellor. We thought he was a one-trick eye-candy pony but, without getting his top off once, did a reasonable job of playing a celebrity chef with a bipolar disorder, an aversion to taking his lithium, and a pregnant wife.
• Suranne Jones couldn’t pull of playing a serious adult, either. Her attempt at talking posh is all over the place and the scene where her severe character, Dr Martha Elliot, wiped away a tear made us laugh thanks to her hamminess.
• The attempt to make Nicholls’ Fielding character a little bit likeable – he works with ghastly working class gunshot victims in an NHS hospital by day – didn’t work. Everyone in Harley Street is either tedious or loathsome. He is both.
• We never like James Fox so didn’t welcome him turning up as one of the money-grabbing medics. We usually like Philip Jackson but even he failed to make anything of his character, Fielding’s father, agruff NHS-supporting northerner, thrown in, it seems, to generate a little bit of private-versus-public health heat.
• Kim Medcalf is in it, too, but her role (as a receptionist? or nurse? we’re not sure) is so meaningless they could have saved a few quid by not bothering.
• Lame lines such as: “I have two companies and 20 top-tier managers to keep in peak medical condition,” “All the pretty girls drop their knickers for a man with a stethoscope,” “You call this a modern health service?” and “You’re a first-rate doctor and a classic legover artist.”
• The sub-plot involving models and Botox never came to life, even when the slimy agent was belittled by the angry Dr Ekkow Oblang, played by the best of the bad bunch, Shaun Parkes.
• While Hotel Babylon has a bit of fun at the expense of London’s loaded, this has no humour or fun whatsoever. It never deviates from dullness.