Socialist Worker

The Street: powerful drama that transcends stereotypes

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2160

Anna Friel in The Street

Anna Friel in The Street

Pub landlord Paddy has barred the local gangster’s son and so put his life in danger.

Paddy’s story opens the third series of Jimmy McGovern’s drama, The Street, which follows the lives of residents in one working class street in Manchester.

The first episode’s 24-hour timespan and tight focus on a handful of people builds up a lot of tension. But the plot is implausible.

Nonetheless, I grew to like the programme as McGovern raises a number of important issues, including class, community and addiction. The conclusion was neither straightforward nor predictable.

Each story has to be resolved in a self-contained 60 minute episode, which can lead to resolutions that feel a bit unnatural. But the stories become more rounded and satisfying over the next couple of episodes.

The second follows Dee (Anna Friel), a mother of two who is driven to prostitution to pay for a house in the catchment area of a “good” school.

In the third, soldier Nick (Jonas Armstrong) returns from an unspecified war and has to deal with the impact of his experiences.

It explores the different ways that his condition affects the people around him and allows multifaceted, interesting characters to develop.

Through the series a couple of episodes have “happy” endings that more cynical viewers may find hard to swallow. But most of the characters transcend stereotypes, making the Street a powerful and thought-provoking series.

The Street
BBC1, Mondays at 9pm
for six weeks

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 14 Jul 2009, 18:56 BST
Issue No. 2160
Share this article

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.