TV: The Pact, BBC2

This final BBC2 pilot has success written over it. The stars are Him & Her's Sarah Solemani and the devilishly handsome Brett Goldstein as two schoolfriends who make a deal aged 15 that if they are single at 35 they will get together. After the teenage opening we flash forward to the present day. Surely getting a decent romcom out of this basic plot should be a doddle. Apparently not.

Somehow The Pact, written by James Britton and Rick Laxton, takes an appealing will they/won't they idea and a brilliant cast and makes a right pig's ear out of it. I appreciate that pilots have to do some character-establishing and there can be a lot to cram in but this one feels like a mess as scenes introduce new people without seamlessly moving things on.

Solemani, of course, is never less than great as the messed up Amy whose life is an alcohol-fuelled car crash. And Goldstein is ever-watchable as divorced dad Andy. But somehow this never really gels.

As I said the plot could be a simple, but it feels unnecessarily complicated by other friends, lovers and strangers in pubs. Ensemble casts can work, look at the Motherland pilot last year, but this one never comes into focus. I can't say where it went off-piste. It might be the script, it might be the direction (although Tony Dow is an experienced director who worked on Only Fools & Horses). It might have been somewhere else in the process.

I wish I liked this more. All I know is it didn't do it for me and is a waste of Solemani, Goldstein and the talented likes of Gabby Best, Ade Adepitan and Lolly Adefope. But, hey, what do I know? Maybe it'll be the biggest success of all of these recent pilots. 

The Pact, BBC2, Wednesday September 27, 10pm.


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