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David T. Cole

Last Tango In Halifax

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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's first two seasons. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

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My PBS station broadcast the first 2 seasons. I missed the first two episodes (don't know when or if my PBS station will re-broadcast them).  How did their daughters meet and what caused the fight they refer to in the later episodes?

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I have to set the scene. Alan and Celia agree to meet (this is their very first meeting) at a pub for lunch, When Alan leaves, he discovers that his car has been stolen, and sees the thief driving away with it. He and Celia take off in her car to chase the thief, but wreck her car in the process. Now carless, they go back to the pub and call their respective daughters to pick them up. Each daughter comes racing into town worried about her parent. There is little to no parking in front of the pub and Celia's daughter is waiting for a car to pull out with her turn signal on when another car comes whizzing past and pulls into the spot in front of her. She is forced to find another place to park much further away. When she finally gets to the pub, she apologizes to the pair and tells them she would have been there much earlier except for the nitwit (she uses a much more colorful term I can't remember) who pulled into her parking place. She then turns around to be introduced to Alan's daughter, who's just coming back from the ladies room, and is the parking place stealer.

 

ETA: I know the timing is frequently off with British shows airing here much later than in the UK, but I think there has only been 1 season of 6 episodes that has aired in the US.

Edited by Quilt Fairy
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The second season hasn't aired yet where I live, but I've seen it all.  One of the things about the casting is that the actresses on Celia's side of the family were on Coronation Street, but Allan's side were in police dramas, like the original Touching Evil.  I love this show and recently re-watched the first episode on DVD from the library.  I still enjoyed it after the fifth or sixth time watching it.  The senior car chase was particularly good. 

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Celia says different things about Alan at different times, leading me to wonder if she's supposed to be starting to have Alzheimers.  I like that they made her unlikeable for a while but redeemed her with Alan in the hospital.

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I like Caroline more than Gillian.  The family unit here is more interesting.  Her husband is played by an actor who usually plays extremely conceited characters.  In Fresh Meat, he's a professor who sleeps with one of his students.  On The Thick of It, he was Malcolm's selectee as head of the party after they stabbed Nicola in the back.   The other teacher who has the lesbian affair with Caroline was also in Teachers, with Andrew Lincoln.

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She's a modern shepherdess raising a son with the help of her father, and her brother in law.  I like that she didn't get along with her mother, and had problems going way back. 

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I find that this is a show that needs to be re-watched. First, for me as an American, the accents and colloquialisms are sometimes hard to interpret. This is a good show to have the closed captioning on even if you're not hard of hearing. Second, there's just so much going on. There are a lot of characters that are introduced in the first episode but the relationships are complex and only truly understood over the course of several episodes. I watched each episode several times as it was airing and then I bought the first season on DVD because I thought the show was such a treasure. Of course, Derek Jacoby brings class to anything he's involved with.

 

ETA: I googled it and I see that the Season 2 6 part series is set to air on PBS starring June 29th. Great news, I can't wait.

Edited by Quilt Fairy
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Derek Jacoby brings class to anything he's involved with.

I thought he went a little too heavy with the accent in comparison with the other actors, but I'm glad he's in the show.  The set-up of the first episode was first class, but I never understood why they went to Skipton from Harrogate and Ripponden, unless Bradford or Leeds are just too congested or dangerous.  Maybe Skipton just looked more scenic. 

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Thanks for that recap. I figured Caroline insulted Gillian, but the impression I got the fight was one of these hair-pulling smack down type things (I know, I watch too much Judge Judy)

 

The PBS station here has a digital channel that shows UK programs only and both series were aired on it.  They repeat the episodes at odd hours, so I've only been able to watch them once.

 

What I find hard to watch is the amount (the little amount) of lighting in the farmhouse scenes. Everything is in shadows (yeah, probably done for theatrical effect) but when you can hardly see who's in the room with the other actors, it's tough. (Or maybe I need to adjust the tv?)

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But the pained look on her face when she learned her mother never gave Celia's note to Allan was hard to watch.

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My PBS station showed Anne Reid in Ladies of Letters. Her character, Vera, is loopy. So when Celia has a loopy lapse, I just chalk it up to Anne Reid playing Celia like Vera.  but I'll keep an eye out for this.

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Yes I hope he recovers. He is playing my favorite character.  HOnestly though the children just seem to suck up the oxygen in the room.  And PBS you could use better lighting. 

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Alan has regained consciousness following his heart scare and Celia promises to never fall out with him again. They decide that they should get married straight away. Caroline and John's relationship becomes fractious after Caroline returns home to discover him and and Judith drunk and in her bed.

 

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I'm confused as to why this thread has a November '13 date associated with it. Was that the day it was broadcast in the UK? Shouldn't we go by the US airdate which will be tomorrow 6-29-14?

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We decided to use the country of origin airdates for all shows so that's why it's listed that way. If the forums had been set up last November then the show would've been listed so the UK folks could comment.

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Did they just drop an F-bomb on PBS? I could've sworn Celia did in the car with Alan, but my CC conveniently didn't caption that line. I can't recall ever hearing that on PBS before...

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I didn't  catch that Castersugar, but I wouldn't put it past Celia when she's angry. 

 

I'm so glad it's back,  I love all these crazy people.

 

Gillian never should have told Caroline she slept with John.  She said she didn't want to have something "between them," but now they have that  between them. What a great scene though!  "You're probably thinking I'm a low life trailer trash," "Yes, I am, but that's just because I'm a snotty bitch."  I love Gillian even with her poor impulse control. The woman simply cannot keep her knickers on.

 

Anyone notice how Gillian's son gained about four inches and forty pounds overnight?  I think Caroline might have lost 15.

 

I'm disappointed we aren't going to get a big wedding with Kate playing "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba."

Edited by JudyObscure

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I think Gillian told Judith she'd slept with John because John was acting like an asshole stalker and she was afraid Judith would either figure it out, or that John would tell her and make it seem like he and Gillian were having a relationship, not just a drunken one-night-stand that she immediately regretted.

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I didn't like how nobody consulted Gillian about her father moving 60 (or 40) miles away. She had lived with him for years and all of a sudden, right when Alan got out of hospital and she feels he probably needed her the most, they just whisk him away.

 

I also hated when Gillian didn't immediately kick John out of her car. Don't tell him your problems, don't feel sorry for his problems (which were mostly self inflicted), and just tell him to piss off. He is so immature, how the hell did Caroline think he was decent husband/father material?

 

Sad to hear that Paul got kicked out, Sacha Dhawan is very attractive.

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I'm so glad this show is back (although it's somewhat disconcerting to watch Derek Jacobi in 2 completely different roles, an hour apart!).

I'm glad Gillian told Caroline, since you just know John would have tried to blackmail her with it.  I also love how Gillian takes responsibility and has balls, even if her judgement isn't always the best.  I just wish Celia had told her the same story about her father and the stairs that she told Caroline. This way it seems like Celia is just trying to take over and cut Gillian out of her father's life.

Celia and Alan looked so happy in the last scene in the car. Too bad it won't last long.

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I think Gillian told Judith she'd slept with John because John was acting like an asshole stalker and she was afraid Judith would either figure it out, or that John would tell her and make it seem like he and Gillian were having a relationship, not just a drunken one-night-stand that she immediately regretted.

 

John is an asshole and a stalker.

 

But I don't like Caroline using Kate either. Having Kate move in because she wants Kate to move in is different than moving Kate in so John gets the message (and potentially moves out.)

 

I feel sorry for their sons.

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I don't like Caroline using Kate, either.  I honestly cannot understand why Kate would even do that for her, considering she will have to deal with John in her face every day.  There's no way that is going to be anything but awkward and uncomfortable for her.

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Loved the herding sheep/herding children analogy.   So Sloane Rangerish. Tee hee.  THis is definitedly the best couple on TV.   I guess the children are the "villains."  

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Sadly, I think Kate is head over heels in love and would do anything Caroline asked, while Caroline seems much less committed. 

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Here's another thing that irked me. When Celia lashed out at Caroline for being gay, Allan was incredibly disappointed with her and broke up with her for her treatment of Caroline. Yet, Allan tells Gillian and Celia that Gillian is a big disappointment, got pregnant at 15 and broke her mother's heart. He basically called his daughter a big loser to her face. But somehow that's okay? 

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I can't make up my mind if this is a comedy or drama. Ok, it's a dramedy but is that something the Brits ( I say that with affection) do in their tv shows? Seems to me, historically it's been one or the other.

Anyway, Gillian really does have "poor impulse control:" (JudyO) You knew it with the Paul situation. She seems to have quite an effect on men b/c while she seems to see these liasons as purely a "toss" the men seem to become smitten immediately.

 

I feel badly for her because her world seems so dark and gray (like the weather) whereas Caroline, while having issues with her domestic situation, she does seem generally rather cheery. Her home is large and well lit while Gillian's seems to be rather crammped and dismal. I want to see a less morose Gillian. I really like the actress. 

 

May I say that I love Derek Jacobi? (Is he a Sir. Sir Derek). Ever since I, Claudius. I also remember Patrick Stewart in that. Very sexy.

But I digress.

 

I'm glad it's back. 

Edited by prican58

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To say nothing of the fact that the incident Alan was  referring to happened at least thirty years ago. Sheesh.

 

Are we supposed to find Celia and Alan particularly likeable?  I know I don't. In addition to the points raised above concerning the parental disappointment in both Caroline and Gillian, there was a scene in one of last season's  episodes  where Caroline and her husband were having a loud and clearly painful argument in their home.  It was overhead by  Celia and Alan. Their reaction was to  giggle like children. Now I can perhaps understand a lack of sympathy for the quarreling couple who had been unhappily married for some time, but the couple's children were also at home. I would have expected at least some concern for the grandkids having to cope with their parents' troubles.

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 Gillian does have poor impulse control (when it comes to men):. But when Alan did that, it was like the kettle calling the pot black. Not to mention that per Gillian, they only spoke twice during the time he was at Celia's recuperating.

 

And I agree with the parallel lives thing. The difference between Gillian and Caroline is that Gillian is more direct and Caroline is more closed.

 

RE: Are we supposed to like Celia and Alan?

 

I wasn't digging Celia too much after Caroline came out and her(Celia) reaction to Alan's reaction of her (Celia). I'm digging her less when she and Caroline were appalled that Gillian would be so morally bankrupt that she's drunk and jumping into bed with John. I don't recall Alan or Gillian doing anything remotely similar when Caroline came out. And I'm digging her even less that she tattled to Alan.

 

Also, I noticed that when Alan and Celia were talking to Gillian about where they would live after they married, Alan says something like they'll live in Halifax, but Celia says they haven't decided.

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I don't find any of the characters particularly likeable, but I do find them interestingly real and complex. This is one show I don't watch for the story - I watch the acting, which is amazing, imo. It's a unique experience for me, watching a show without a rooting interest in some way, but the writing and the craft are so good, I stay committed anyway.

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I think Gillian sleeping with John is a pretty big deal, and I can understand why everyone is shocked. Even if they'd never met before, they're practically family and they know it.  Not only has Gillian gotten fairly close to Caroline, she's starting a relationship with Robbie. And IIRC, John didn't even come on to Gillian, she asked him to come to bed with her. I can't wait to see what Robbie does when he finds out.

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What I find interesting about this show is that everyone is so completely flawed & damaged to some extent.  

 

Mostly, I'm interested in Gillian's story, and I would love some back story as to why she is so in need of validation from everyone around her.  Really, what is the cause/foundation of her crippling insecurities, that she would stay with a man who beat her, sleep with the brother of said man despite the fact that he overtly, and with great enthusiasm, attempted to have her charged with his murder, attempted to turn her only son against her, slept with John….JUST HELLO (?), and with Paul….seriously crippling level of insecurity.  And, I love that she states that she doesn't judge anyone but seems more than capable of laying down some judgement on herself.  I thought the relationship between Gillian and Alan was really endearing and lovely…and then Celia happened, and I must admit to being a little miffed off about the plot choice, so Celia, and her judgements, can suck it.  

 

I like Gillian, flaws and all, due in no small part to Nicola Walker and her impeccable ability to infuse humanity into even the most disagreeable character (I'm looking at Scott & Bailey), but I do not relish watching her just completely self-destruct in season 2, and would much prefer seeing the character remain ballsy and unapologetic, owing her actions and consequences a la season 1.

 

Well, to be perfectly honest, I would prefer that Peter Firth guest role, meet up with Gillian, engage in a short lived but passionate love affair, and ultimately satisfy all those SPOOKS fans who felt screwed on the Harry/Ruth resolution, of which I count myself as one.  Never.  Going.  To.  Happen.  Deal.  With.  It.  Damn.

 

I'm still bitter about it.  Hate me if you need to.

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It occurred to me the other night that I don't really like any of the characters except Allan. They are all sorts of faulty--I'll continue to watch!

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As a blues fan, I can't bring myself to hate anyone with the handle "BigMamaThornton".

 

I find Gillian's story more interesting too. I'm not liking the other side of the family very much.

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I don't like Caroline using Kate, either.  I honestly cannot understand why Kate would even do that for her

Because it's an amazing house? I kid. Kate seems more into this relationship than Caroline, and I think she's going to get hurt. And I don't care all that much about that.

 

Did they just drop an F-bomb on PBS? I could've sworn Celia did in the car with Alan, but my CC conveniently didn't caption that line. I can't recall ever hearing that on PBS before...

"I'm just a bit befuddled with it, really" might be the line. It took my brain a second to make out what she'd said.

 

So Alan needs a stair-free home but can go to the top of a cliff right after he's released from the hospital?

Edited by dcalley
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So Alan needs a stair-free home but can go to the top of a cliff right after he's released from the hospital

At the end of that scene the camera backs up and you can see their car, so they drove up.

 

I like Gillian and her story as well, although I think sleeping with John was a poor choice.

 

Is Paul coming back this season? I hated him at the beginning of S1 but by the end I found him rather endearing, being dragged in his cast from pillar to post by all and sundry.

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At the end of that scene the camera backs up and you can see their car, so they drove up.

Ha, I figured and was actually looking for the car but somehow missed it. (I have a tiny TV from the previous century, that's how.)

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Alan and Celia's first day as a married couple is full of tension. A new arrival manages to surprise everybody. Caroline finds a way to buy John out of the house.

 

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Wow, Celia got pretty nasty in how she described Gillian's situation with Raff and the baby.  She really can be quite judgmental and petty.  It struck me that Gillian are alike in that they both can say really nasty things without thinking.

 

I'm curious why Kate isn't considering adoption since she's had 4 miscarriages. 

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Caroline and Kate sure are moving at warp speed!  I couldn't believe Caroline asked Kate for a contribution to buy the house before they've even had a single discussion about "forever."

 

So Gillian's a grandmother.  What did Celia call Raff and Gillian?  A muck luck?

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Raff's possible baby mama sure is a liar. Get a paternity test ASAP!

Wow, Gillian is still taking John's calls. She shouldn't be stringing Robbie along.

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I doubt the baby is Raff's.

 

My biggest problem with this episode was Gillian putting Alan through that long stay waiting on the baby. Celia should have insisted that they go home, especially knowing what she knew about what the doctor had said.. She could have figured something out or just left Raff with the situation. Just sitting in a hospital waiting room for 2 hours is a strain at that age.

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