Review of The Lakes

The Lakes (1997–1999)
Series 1 of `The Lakes' it's not!
14 June 1999
Warning: Spoilers
The final image from the first series of `The Lakes', of Danny Kavanah gambling with the only thing he has left - his life - is where this extraordinary story needs to have ended.

Series 2 is an overly obvious attempt at extracting every last cent (penny?) from the story. On a positive note, practically all the original cast (with the exception of David Westhead, who only briefly appears in the first episode) returned, and character development, on the whole, was rewarding.

However, this series suffers from the use of several writers and directors, with some improbable plotlines and not a small degree of disjointedness. For instance, I couldn't see the point in pursuing the story involving the doctor and her lesbian former lover. And would a mid-forties married woman having an affair with her priest never consider the possibility of pregnancy? This latter storyline was an obvious ploy by McGovern, who penned this particular episode, to display the Church's response to such situations. I had trouble believing that the characters involved would be that careless. Lucy Archer undergoes a complete transformation between Series 1 and 2, and almost overnight develops from a ditsy reactive 16-year-old to a calculating, erudite, Dickens-reading 20-something - a bit hard to swallow, if you'll pardon my pun!

On occasion the writing bordered on the brilliant. I'm referring to the "The milk's off!" scene, which takes place in the Quinlan household during one particularly chaotic breakfast time, as well as the card game scene in the hotel in the final episode. The outdoor scenery of the Lake District, breathtaking in Series 1, takes on a threatening and malevolent presence in this follow-up series.

I tolerated this series, and even enjoyed it, but only because of my fondness for the main characters. This was due to the superb standard of acting and the believability of characterisations established by the brilliant Jimmy McGovern in Series 1.
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