This Life and the year was 1996; I had finished my BA and was at journalism college and the debutante professional lives of five every so crazy lawyers who shared a house in South London had me gripped. With vivid sex scenes and colourful language and explosive storylines, This Life was Sex and the City before the iconic show became Sex and the City. Then there was the wonderful Cold Feet which charmed the us with the lives of three couples based in Manchester. Well since This Life sadly disappeared from our screens in 1997 and Cold Feet in 2003, I have migrated to US TV shows like Lipstick Jungle, Gossip Girl, 90210, Melrose Place and the Canadian import, Being Erica. Aside from soaps like Eastenders, Brit TVvery rarely got a look in. During the noughties Sarah Parish ruled the Brit drama roost with roles in Hearts and Bones, Cutting It, Honest and Mistresses. I never really took to Cutting It, Mistresses was ok but I never warmed to any of the female characters and I totally missed out on Hearts and Bones. This is why the arrival of Material Girl (read my preview post) has been hugely anticipated by me and fellow fashionistas.
(based on the book, Fashion Babylon by Imogen Edwards Jones) is the story of Ali Radcliffe played by Lenora Crichlow, an aspiring designer who decides to set up her own label after being treated badly by her boss who is the very successful but neurotic Davinia Taylor played by Dervla Kirwan. She goes into partnership with Marco Keriliak played my Michael Landes who studied at St Martins with Davinia and is keen to even a score with his nemesis. The series is set in the busy hub of London's East End and we are introduced to Ali's colourful set of friends which consists of Alex, a fellow designer who works for Ali's rival, Mimi who works at a glossy magazine and Lydia who is one of the country's top models. We see Ali go head to head with the spiteful Davinia who will stop at nothing to jeapordise Ali's career. The show starts off spendidly with shots of Champs-Elysees where Ali is helping Davinia prepare for her show at Paris Fashion Week. The rapid shots really evoke the pace and excitement of the fashion industry particularly when Fashion Week is on. Like other glam shows such as Ugly Betty and Sex and the City, Material Girl could be enjoyed purely on the scenery which is totally vibrant and rather eclectic. The outfits have taken quite a bit of a panning by fashion journalists but considering that we see Ali dressed in play suits, capes, vintage shift dresses and of course elegant stilettos which are all key looks for any decent fashion lover I beg to differ. But hey what do I know? I only follow fashion right. Yes, Material Girl may be full of cliches albeit bitchy boss, the must have gay BF, the wacky and out there pal and the trusted bestie but it is a really good show and very enjoyable. We need more Brit dramas like this please, in fact we need more Brit dramas period.
Material Girl airs on Thursdays at 8pm on BBC One