Posted by: Paul | July 14, 2010

Dive

Aisling Loftus in 'Dive'

Slightly delayed post about this, what with the World Cup drawing to a close and having lots to say about it over the weekend.

Dive was an understated BBC2 drama about teenage pregnancy, shown last Thursday and Friday. I enjoyed it at the time but looking back now I’m left feeling rather flat. I think it’s because I feel an unfortunate lack of sympathy for the main characters, and that’s what is preventing me from feeling profoundly moved by it as some professional critics have been.

Lindsey (Aisling Loftus, the second time I’ve put a photo of her here – it’s becoming something of a habit, her appearing in hard-hitting ‘issues’-based TV, she also appeared as a prostitute in Five Daughters) is a talented diver, training hard in the hope she will be selected for the 2012 Olympic team. When her parents split up and her mother’s new boyfriend arrives on the scene and in the house, Lindsey does what any normal teenager would do – she rebels. Her training slips, and she takes up with, and falls pregnant to, an unsuitable boy from school.

Here’s where I and the programme makers divide. We are, I guess, asked to be sympathetic towards the boy, Robert, to see him as a loveable rogue, a scallywag, a cheeky smile hiding a heart of gold. I hated him.

His character is a scumbag, the worst kind of liberty taker in life, a no-mark who expects an easy ride. He takes full advantage of Lindsey, effectively ruining everything she had worked for at a time when she was most vulnerable. From that point on the script had lost me as a supporter. I would hope most people would want to bring their children up with better standards than that.

But I suppose this is ‘issues TV’, and with Britain having the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, these things happen. I just felt it was a simplistic approach – Lindsey fell under Robert’s spell too easily for me, and he was too much of a stock and predictable character to carry the weight of the story. And the pseudo ‘happy ending’ felt tacked on and glib after the rest of the show had made such an effort not to be as judgemental as my reaction obviously is.

It was beautifully shot though. In a drab, out-of-season seaside town, all colour was muted and washed out, heightening the azure of the swimming pool water which thus came crashing through the screen. With such an accent on it, it nicely underscored what Lindsey was missing out on even more acutely. Speaking of score, there’s been a lot of criticism of the cello motif used incessantly throughout. I quite agree – it would have been more impactful if stripped of music entirely. I would think that anyone watching this is intelligent enough as a viewer that they don’t need the music to rise every ten minutes to say, ‘this is the sad bit now.’

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