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TV review: ITV2's Switch is a bewitching drama
The cast of ITV2's Switch. Image ITV
From the writers of Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Switch is a supernatural comedy-drama is about four young witches. Stella is played by ex-EastEnders actress Lacey Turner; Phoebe Fox is Grace, Nina Toussaint-White (another ex-EastEnders star) is Jude and Hannah Tointon of The Inbetweeners is Hannah.
The final scene in which the girls are hexed by a group of posh Kensington witches was priceless. It should provide a fine source of comedy and satire for the rest of the series, while poking fun at Made In Chelsea at the same time. Two birds with one stone and all that...
There obviously wasn't much money set aside for the special effects budget. Producers did say relationships rather than magic would be the driving force of the show, so we probably shouldn't be surprised.
There are more supernatural dramas on TV than you can shake a remote control at these days, and ITV2 has become the latest channel to jump on the overcrowded bandwagon.
For many, it's a channel synonymous with celebrity culture, scripted-reality and Peter Andre (any update on how much he loves his kids by the way?), but this isn't the first time the broadcaster has dabbled with original commissions.
Secret Diary of a Call Girl, for example, may have been turned down by Channel 4, but it enjoyed cult status on ITV2. It's a fact not lost on the channel bosses who realise the lucrative nature of highly-targeted advertising slots.
"ITV2 has become the latest channel to jump on the overcrowded bandwagon."
And so to Switch which revolves around a coven of four young witches from Camden Town who are attempting to get by as normal urban twenty-somethings.
Occasionally they get stuck and use their powers to push things along which inevitably (and often comically) makes things much worse.
All four harness the power of one of the four elements which conveniently also represents their character.
Organised young career-girl Stella is the de facto leader of the group and commands the element of Earth; Hannah likes travelling and is thus Air; Grace is the baby of the group and is stuck with Water (presumably because she seems to be wet but quite useful), and Jude is the fiery one. I'm sure you can do the 'element math'.
Here come the girls
In this first episode, the powers of our four leads are secondary to various relationships, be it with each other (to the cast's credit, they convince as best mates), work colleagues or family. I'm sure we'll see more of exactly what they're capable of later on...
The premise may sound like bubblegum television, but there's a great deal of TV pedigree on show here.
Switch is produced by Being Human's Philip Trethowan, co-written by Misfits producer Chloe Moss and stars a young cast who've appeared in (among others): The Fades, Doctor Who, The Inbetweeners and Being Human.
In addtion, Switch boasts Caroline Quentin as Grace's hippyish mother and Amanda Drew (yet another ex-EastEnders actress) as Stella's super-bitch boss.
What did you think of ITV2's Switch?
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- 80 %Magic - it was an hour of entertainment
- Tragic - it was a waste of time
Unlike most of it's genre counterparts, the emphasis remains very much on comedy rather than drama (the final twist made me laugh the most). Switch doesn't take itself too seriously, which means we don't have to either.
Consequently, while I may not be the target audience (I'm not a female who is rapidly approaching 30) Switch grew on me despite low expectations.
It won't appeal to the geeky, but it forms a decent middle-ground between edgy shows like Misfits and ITV's showbiz-addled mainstream.
This opener isn't without plot-holes; only one of the group earns above minimum wage, yet their flat is a cavernous spread in fashionable Camden. And why don't they just use magic for everything?
But to dwell on these flaws is to miss the point somewhat. The writers have skilfully introduced a side-arc for each character while adding some fine comic touches, a feat which is beyond many pilot episodes.
More concerned with romance than fantasy, Switch is flawed yet promising. And it may just have enough about it to flourish on a reality-soaked ITV2.
- Verdict: Surprisingly enjoyable drama which delivered more than it initially promised
What other reviewers said
SFX - "S'okay. ITV 2's new witchy soap clearly wants to be Sex In The City meets Charmed."
What people on Twitter said
@louisewalklin - "Really enjoyed #switch It had a mix of interesting characters & fun storyline; bring on ep 2!"
@BeckyChesson - "Loved #Switch! Hooked from episode 1 and wanting another series after! Fav witch in the show? STELLA! Played by the lovely @laceyturner8"
The views in this article are those of the author alone and not of MSN or Microsoft
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