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'The Trouble with Maggie Cole'
(Dawn French, Mark Heap, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Vicki Pepperdine, Patrick Robinson, et al / 2-DVD / TV-14 / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: 'The Trouble with Maggie Cole' follows the stories and fall out for Maggie Cole, played by Dawn French ('The Vicar of Dibley'), who doesn't pay attention to the cautionary adage that "those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"!

DVD Verdict: Maggie Cole is the self-appointed oracle of Thurlbury, a close-knit town. When a radio journalist interviews Maggie, she gives him far more detail and embellishment about the locals and their personal lives than he was counting on.

When the interview is played in full, all the guarded secrets, indiscretions and gossip are broadcast for the whole county to hear, changing life in Thurlbury forever.

When a radio journalist interviews Maggie Cole (Dawn French, The Vicar of Dibley) for a small piece about local life in their small coastal community, she gives him far more detail – and embellishment – about the locals and their personal lives than he was counting on.

In the days and weeks following the show’s broadcast, Maggie’s over-zealous chit-chat gets her into serious hot water, as the fallout from her very public gossip-fest disrupts the lives of her fellow residents.

Personally, I think the writing is beautiful. The dialogue flows nicely and there are some very clever details in it that many writers would ordinarily miss.

I would be interested to see other projects by this writer and how he develops, as there's such warmth and heart in the writing that can't be learned, you just have to have it, you know!

Now I have to say that the actors that are good are VERY good. Dawn French is fabulous in the title role. Mark Heap is deliciously awkward in his role as Maggie's husband.

Julie Hesmondalgh is adorable and warm as Maggie's best friend and her love interest played by Patrick Robinson is brilliantly natural. Kerry Howard does a terrific job with the west country accent, although I assume she may originally be from the region.

Laurie Kynastan is a new face to me, but nonetheless his acting ability is something very special and I imagine he's one to watch in the future.

However some of the other casting choices are nothing short of appalling! Worst of all has to be the supposed Polish father and daughter. If Tomi May isn't putting on an accent, then he's just a terrible actor and should never have been cast!

Emily Reid is even worse, neither looking nor sounding Polish and having zero acting ability or charm. As a Polish person myself, I feel very offended by these choices, as we're crying out for decent representation, but get slapped in the face with these!

I also feel the casting of Rocco Padden as Kerry Howard's son was a poor choice. The boy seems streets behind the acting level of his classmate, Jamie Talbot (who isn't even listed in the cast!), who is superb with his expressions and naturally funny delivery.

It's a real shame and maybe Rocco Padden will improve someday, but there's no point in casting a child that can't act until they've grown in their ability as it will just ruin his career before it's started!

Also, sorry, but I don't think Holly Edwin fits very well with Laurie Kynastan. They simply look wrong as a couple, which again feels like a mistake by casting. Maybe Holly Edwin has great ability, but it is rather distracting when a couple just LOOK wrong, you know!

I know these are petty and minor niggles too, but all in all, 'The Trouble with Maggie Cole' is a very enjoyable watch, that also features great wardrobe choices and scenery galore to melt into.

Ergo, and packed full of comedy, intrigue and suspense, 'The Trouble with Maggie Cole' is a warmly humorous yet distinctly cautionary tale about the perils of passing on unfounded gossip! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and includes the Bonus Video of:

Friendship & Forgiveness
The Garden Party
Do You Gave Floats in Poland?
Rumours, Gossip & Whispers