TV: Bucket, Episode 4, BBC4

An odd couple travelling together in a car who love each but can’t say it? A four-part series on the BBC ending this week? We are not talking about Car Share but Bucket, starring Miriam Margolyes as eccentric mum Mim and Frog Stone (who also wrote this) as long-suffering daughter Fran. 

Oh, and in this one they don’t quote Billy Ocean, they quote TS Eliot. It's BBC4 after all. In the final episode they are heading off in Mim's battered BMW on their dream holiday to France but somehow – the real reason being BBC4 budgets I suspect – they don't make it. Instead Fran heads back to the school where she used to work and Mum in sent to Coventry for telling a big fat fib. 

So Mim has to sort her life out on her own, but after trying to realign her chakras without doing a big fart and trying archery with cousin Pat (Stephanie Beacham) she takes aim at reconciling with Fran, who keeps ignoring her calls. Eventually Mim has no alternative but to turn up at Fran’s house.

But can they ever overcome their differences? Well, love has a habit of conquering all in this kind of comedy drama with heart, but this is a complicated one. There’s a lot of history for Fran to discover, but then as she says to her class at school, learning from history can be liberating.  

This is a sweet series full of nice performances and genuine chemistry between the two stars. Even if it doesn’t entirely convince all the time the fraught relationship between Mim and Fran is certainly believable. And right up to the end we get surprises, although some are a little more telegraphed than others.

But will they drive off into the sunset with all of their issues resolved? There might not be quite the public demand for a follow-up here that there has been for Car Share, but judging by the final scene – no major spoilers here, thank you – we may not have seen the last of Mim and Fran.

Bucket, 10pm, Thursday, BBC4. Or catch up afterwards here.

 

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