15/05/2013 01:05 | By Dan Owen, contributor, MSN TV

Frankie: Torchwood's Eve Myles in decent BBC1 drama

TV review: Former Torchwood star Eve Myles stars in Frankie, a BBC1 drama about a dedicated nurse.


Eve Myles as Frankie (© Eve Myles as Frankie. Image. BBC)


Summary

Six-part medical drama from writer Lucy Gannon (The Best of Men) about a hardworking district nurse called Frankie Maddox (Eve Myles) who always puts her job above her personal life.

Highlight

There was a good sequence in which Frankie was involved in a life-and-death situation with a young girl who required a roadside heart massage. For the first time, it felt as if Frankie's more than just a reassuring presence with a stethoscope doing house calls.

Lowlight

The concept of Frankie is almost a patchwork of plot and genre clichés, and it felt strange that none of Frankie's colleagues appear to do half as much work. Instead, they loiter around the surgery reading gossip magazines and eating snacks.

Full review

The prospect of fighting more aliens after the wretched Torchwood: Miracle Day gets less likely with each passing day, so Eve Myles has wisely moved on, taking the lead in a new medical drama that plays more to her strengths.

"Frankie gives Ms Myles a great showcase for her naturalism"

I know Eve has passionate fans in sci-fi circles but as Torchwood's Gwen Cooper, she was always a hair's breadth away from being a total embarrassment leaping around with twin handguns.

Far more believable during Torchwood's down-to-earth scenes, she was allowed to behave more like a regular human being.

Frankie gives Ms Myles a great showcase for her naturalism, and she's indeed very watchable as the flawed heroine of this new BBC drama.

As a concept, Frankie isn't tearing up the TV rulebook or doing anything exciting and unique in its field. It's almost a modern-day The District Nurse with Eve Myles as the new Nerys Hughes (ask your parents).

Frankie's a genial woman who lets her work rule her life, which puts the expected pressure on hunky cop boyfriend Ian (Dean Lennox Kelly), who can't win Frankie's attention when he's up against all the patients she takes under her wing.

Frankie turns on the charm

In this opening episode, Frankie's put into a difficult position with Mr Thomas (Michael Byrne), an elderly man starting to show signs of dementia. Later, she has to deal with a pregnant woman worried she'll give birth before her husband returns from a tour of Afghanistan.

While some of the episode was soap-like in its plotting and execution, the strength of Frankie is the cast and brisk sense of pace. The aforementioned Eve Myles fits the eponymous role like a glove, and is clearly enjoying every second of screen time.

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The best performance came from guest star Barbara Marten as a middle-aged woman desperate to keep her unwell father out of care. Her tearful farewell when her dad was taken away crying was genuinely heartbreaking.

You know what you'll be getting with Frankie; it's well-paced and ebullient, but also lightweight in terms of ambition and complexity.

Frankie is a modern saint who pays the price for her kindness in private, even if you don't feel she'd care if her boyfriend dumps her.

She's married to her job, and seems to find more enjoyment and satisfaction in that.

I hope the remaining episodes give us a better appreciation of what Frankie stands to lose if she keeps up her beatific ways. It's amiable and involving, helped by a fine performance by kooky Eve Myles, but Frankie doesn't yet scream for weekly attention and loyalty.

  • Verdict: Frankie fills its time slot agreeably enough.

    Star grade


What other reviewers said

Unreality Primetime - "Eve Myles shines in this good-natured yet lightweight drama."

The Lady - "Frankie isn't quite a one woman show, but there's barely a shot that doesn't dwell on Eve Myles's huge, luminous eyes."

What people on Twitter said

‏@RichardStokes - "Brilliant #Frankie. Heart-warming, uplifting, funny, moving. Evie just superb."

@lesleyj28 - "Catching up with #Frankie. It's pretty good eh?"



The views in this article are those of the author alone and not of MSN or Microsoft

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