YOU GUYS!!!!! You guys Last Tango in Halifax is back and so are we!!!!! I've only been waiting four months (ONLY - felt like 4 years), I can't imagine how excited you lot were! Let's roll right into it, we've a lot to cover on this LTiH Christmas Special!
Let's see what happened previously....EVERYTHING. Everything happened previously and if you want to spend an hour or two reading about it, check out my recaps! Pack a snack and a cuppa, there's a lot of them and they DO tend to go on. I love this show!
We open with Celia (Anne Reid) sunning herself as she watches Alan (Sir Derek Jacobi) returning with provisions, phone call from Caroline! LEMME SEE CAROLINE!! Woot and I DO!! Caroline (the sublime Sarah Lancashire) has gotten another headship! She applied on the downlow, not wanting anyone to know and she got it! What's important is they will be moving.
Which means we're leaving That Kitchen and the AGA!!!!!!!!!!! Nooooooooo!!! I shall light a small candle and put it in a high window for the Aga cooker I adored so.
So, now, to business: Alan and Celia have to decide if they'll be moving with her or not. Moving where, though, Celia wants to know and Caroline finally spits it out after stalling for a few seconds: Huddersfield. I asked the Google and apparently they have a great football club, what's the problem?
I miss Harrogate already!
Celia is asking the Google as well, the school Caroline will be headteacher at is a State School, which Gillian (Nicola Walker - hi!! I've been watching all kinds of your shows lately, but I still missed you as Gillian!) explains is "where the ordinary people go" to school.
BUT THERE'S CALAMITY!! Oh my goodness, look how sweet she looks, oh hello Calamity! I can't find her in the IMDb, dang it, but she's adorable.
Raff (Josh Bolt) recognises the name Crow Wood Park; he whistles in a "ohhhh noooooo" kinda way. It's where they stab science teachers! The teacher pulled through, though, no harm, no foul.
I know the lovely LB can explain the difference between the schools!
Caroline needed a challenge, she tells Gillian, she was starting to feel stale. What did the boys think? Well, William (Dean Smith - I'm really trying with New William, he's hilarious on Twitter and very engaging, it's just) took it fine riding his bike around Oxford and Lawrence (Louis Greatorex) also seemed to take it in stride during his shift at the local bowling alley.
FLORA!!!!!!! We see Flora!! Flora has cocoa-puffs, sigh, she's so lovely. Still being carried around, although maybe that's more mud-related.
Sorry, sorry, where were we? Caroline's been lucky her whole life, she wants to give back now. What's a stepsister for if not to point out all the stuff that directly contradicts that statement? Like, oh, when Kate died the DAY AFTER THEIR WEDDING, or when Caroline was married to that cheating wanker John (Tony Gardner) for lo those many years...so helpful, our Gillian.
Oh there's John now, yay. Allow me to say something before it becomes very obvious and nobody knows where to look.
TANGENT! I myself am going through a divorce right now, suffice to say that I was married to a John Elliot, although I can't possibly compare myself to the amazing Caroline, just the whole John Elliot part. Right, I won't go on about it, but if a little extra vitriol towards John creeps in, you'll know why.
John and Judith (Ronni Ancona) have a super swank pad! Gorgeous brick exterior and then extremely modern kitchen and interior. I don't like it, too antiseptic and just now I remember that she lost the baby she was carrying. I'm sorry, Judith. She is having a late career renaissance; John is dressed like James Bond and she's very fancy because she's been nominated for the Carnegie Medal for Children's Fiction.
She talks about Lawrence and Angus (Felix Johnson) in front of them to John as though they have no ears...just like that, I don't like the new Judith either!
Hello Harrogate Kitchen: how I missed you. Caroline and new person (who looks like Kate but is NOT Kate) Olga (Lorraine Burroughs from The Five!) are discussing the move, Olga is not happy. She'll have to drive all the way out to Huddersfield to see Caroline now! But Olga's criticism of Caroline's charmed life is part of the reason she took the job, see. She's trying to make a difference, as Olga said she should.
Side note: I don't think Olga reaaallly looks like Kate any longer, aside from skin colour. She looks younger and has these drop dead gorgeous eyes that are shaped the same way as Kate's maybe. Dreamy
Ohhhh Caroline, you break up with Olga with "this was nice but it was never meant to be"???? Flora calls Olga Mommy just then, great timing!
Six months later
Everyone's at the farm, William must be home from holidays, oh WAIT! That's Caroline's new home, not the farm! William's not quite sure what to think, let's see the kitchen then. Caroline reassures him: Alan and Granny like it! Celia counters with "there's a lot wants doing" and I love Caroline's face here so much I want to print in and carry it in a picture frame so I can just hold it up in front of my face whenever people are jerks.
AGA!!!!!!!!!!!! Dark blue Aga!!!!!
Alan and Caroline tussle a bit over when the workers should be given a cuppa; she'd like them to unload her furniture first, fanks, but Alan is in full Labour Leader mode: feed the people! Celia finds mouse droppings, horrifying William: so unhygienic!
Caroline is rethinking having ANY of these people live with her.
Gillian looks lovely, all dressed up in a fancy restaurant, and it's just Caroline who will be joining her this evening. Nobody wastes any time pouring the wine, Gillian's been thinking
But Caroline's wrapped up in the shite wine
And what they could really use? Waiterboy? Caroline always knows.
Sorry JS! I know those gifs mess up your screen, just so many cute bits all at once.
It's the damp, see, Celia and Alan can't stay in the room that's been "allocated" for them (or that she chose while looking at the place), there's damp over by the window! And Celia had bronchitis when she was 17! "You're 78!"
Perhaps if Caroline moved into the small room and she and Alan had hers, the other big one? Why didn't they get their own place again? I know Celia's always been a bit ridiculous but Alan seemed sensible, for the most part.
Oh I've missed these people and Caroline explaining stories to Gillian. SO MUCH.
Then Flora was brought back early by Greg (Marcus Garvey) because his new girlfriend Bridget (no name in IMDb, sorry!) is allergic to anyone under the age of 18, then Lawrence and John showed up AND there's an entourage, meaning Judith. My cold black heart melted a little when I saw Celia staring down Judith.
John's et al. aren't just there for a cuppa, however, it's not working out with Lawrence staying with him and Judith. He's not happy and he wants to stay with Caroline, which means a horrendous commute to Harrogate since nobody wants him to switch schools before sitting his A2s. Somehow, all of this, John's inability to care for his child in the face of his new partner's disinterest and dislike of his offspring: Caroline's fault because she chose to move out to godforsaken Huddersfield. I ASK YOU. He dumps Lawrence for the holidays anyway. HONESTLY
So why is Gillian thinking of becoming a lesbian? It's because Robbie (Dean Andrews) retired a week ago and she can't take it. He's just there, all up in her grill, where's she going? Why'd she make a cake? IT'S NOT A WMD, Robbie, sit the Sam Hill down, it's a CAKE! Cry me a river, Gillian, it's not like he's on Stress Leave, just HANGING AROUND the house, but never HELPING or somefing. Another thing: rumour has it, although I can't say for sure: occasionally lesbians also get bored and want more companionship than their partners want to offer too. You know, like people and everything. I don't think switching sexual orientations is going to give you any more time by yourself, especially not in the beginning. You've got to find out what all the new bells and whistles do and what goes where, it's practically a full-time thing!
Let's look at this evening, Robbie asking Gillian to wear a dress spun Gillian into a full-fledged meltdown; she shrieked at Robbie, Raff, Ellie (Katherine Rose Marley) and Calamity (all dressed to go to dinner) at great length: they could go to ANOTHER restaurant, she'd had it! HAD IT!
I'm sorry, but I actually felt bad for everyone BUT Gillian in that scene. It's lovely to see them all again!
Caroline gingerly asks...about divorce...? Was that going to happen? But they've been doing pretty well! She hadn't felt weird about Eddie, anything!
Alan's gone to see Gillian; warned by Robbie that Gillian's in an off mood. Alan's whole body sighs.
Alan suggest that Gillian show Robbie some sympathy, not anger, yes? Pfft snorts Gillian. He's there to talk to her about sommat delicate, though, sensitive even. Now listen before flying off the handle (I LOVE conversations that start like that!); he and Celia have altered their wills. His previously had Gillian as the beneficiary, now it goes to the surviving partner to use for the duration of their lives, then will be split equally between Gillian and Caroline. Perfect! Sounds fair! Nothing to Gary, he shouldn't be expected to, yes?
So why did he think she would fly off the handle? Ohh, and now we're into it: who brought the most to the table in the beginning? Oh and they want to be buried together, cremated and then buried in the same grave. Really? That seems...unnecessary? But that means Alan won't have his ashes scattered with Gillian's mum any more and we take a moment for that.
Celia's got an emergency, can Caroline drive her to Halifax right now? It seems our Celia auditioned for a community theatre production and now that the leading lady has broken her hip, she's up! It's good for keeping the mind active, see, keeping those "neurons...neurinating!" Can Caroline drive her there in tie for rehersal? After she puts on a spot of makeup, perhaps, and runs a brush through her hair? You never know, Caroline could meet someone! "A nice fella" gets me all mad again, and Caroline doesn't think she'll meet a nice fella or anyone else she has anything in common with for that matter. Celia thinks she's been hanging out with Gillian too much, she's starting to sound like her.
Robbie's working away in barn with a grinder, he can't hear Gillian shouting at him, so her touch startles him and he gets a serious cut on the neck. Call 999!!
Ahhhhh shades of when she killed Eddie in that very same farm!!!! I have to apologize for the entire length of the series, it wasn't until I saw Wentworth that I realised that Gillian used a splitting axe to kill Eddie, a log splitter where I'm from is a machine that carefully and slowly separates chunks of wood. I couldn't imagine him laying there long enough for it to do its work, and they're far too heavy to pick up and drop on someone.
She drives him to town, complaining about Alan's news of the will while Robbie tries to not bleed to death from the neck. An ambulance picks them up on the road and Robbie tries to reassure HER about the wills again, while trying not to bleed to death from the neck.
Celia s picking at Caroline again, she's an intellectual snob! She thinks she's better than everyone else. Well. She is, amirite? Who else would do someone a favour only to be yelled at like that to no end, which devolves to "you're as bad as your dad" which Caroline and I have heard more than once! Caroline has it as soon as Celia lowers her voice in front of Flora to say "lesbian" as one might say "cancer" or "blowie", come ON. "Don't let the door hit you on the arse" oh but no, Celia isn't going now. Caroline's ruining it for her!
I have to say, in this moment, Celia reminds me of the newest President-Elect just down south from me: Donald Trump. Hours after winning the presidential election in completely world-upending form, he was on Twitter complaining that people weren't kowtowing enough to his majesty. HONESTLY
Caroline knows it's just nerves; Celia will do fine. She's clever, she'll be fine, her "lesbian" daughter gives her a pep talk. Would she like Caroline to come in with her? "No! Not looking like that"
Flora laughs in the backseat and it's all okay. And then Gillian calls.
At the hospital, Gillian is a mess, but not because they were berating her for just narrowly missing the carotid artery, there has been a series of accidents for our Robbie and Gillian is suspicious. There's a funny feeling in that barn. What if Eddie's ghost...
Caroline is exactly the person to talk to about this, she talks to Kate all the time, imagining her responses and her wishes. Gillian counters that talking to Kate is a good thing, this is pure evil. And it's not just her who feels it, Alan does too. Robbie could have died.
Celia is holding forth at the dinner table about shenanigans with the AmDram crew; and given everyone knowing who Gerald is (the director), it isn't the first time. She stops long enough for Raff to ask Gillian if they're going up to see Robbie? So that he knows people care and all? I keep forgetting it's Christmas, it just doesn't FEEL like it.
Caroline, Alan and Celia are headed out back to "the damp and the vermin," Gillian will pass on their love, won't she? Gillian sits alone and glowers.
Alan is worried about repercussions re: the wills and grave plan once Gillian has had time to dwell onnit, but Gillian has other fish to fry first. She's out flexing bravado in the barn: she's not scared of you, Eddie!
Robbie's still groggy from the painkillers, but able to school Gillian on how men handle things better than women. She pokes at him for not being able to help her during Christmas and sorry, Gillian, maybe he couldn't hear you over all the blood rushing from his body through a hole in his neck. Speak up!
What's going on, Gillian?? Why so niggly? "Life's never been better" except for the bleedy bits today. She wasn't just upset about the prospect of Celia spending Gillian's inheritance on boytoys in the Caribbean, there's also the whole not-being-buried-with-Gillian's-mum thing and honestly, Gillian, what would you expect? He's married to another woman now, you can't expect that he would still go get buried with the first one, right? Robbie thinks it doesn't matter anyway, "once you're dead, you're dead" but Gillian isn't so sure.
Back at Caroline's, among the damp and the vermin, Celia is STILL talking about the play, she only has 10 days to learn the lines! She hopes everyone will come, how about Angus? Angus is 60 miles away, Lawrence snots, "everyone who matters is 60 miles away" and PARDON ME? You think Angus wants "to get on a train to watch a load of old people twatting about" and oy oy! Lawrence blames everything on Caroline being selfish and she REALLY needs to do something about that brat.
William can't believe he'll never see Harrogate and I can't either!!!! He never got to say a proper goodbye to his bedroom *tears*. Er. What about the cooker, William? Did you mean the Aga? He gets into a throwing fight with Lawrence and
Remember the glorious delicate bones of Edward Ashley? Every emotion writ large but paper fine? Sorry, sorry
Look who's here! It's Harry (Paul Copely) and his new girlfriend Olga, who looks a lot like Caroline's old girlfriend! Surprise!
Olga moves to kiss Caroline, who deflects and ends up with lipstick on her cheek, she can't, the boys are here, etc etc but we all know it's (homophobia personified) Celia she's worried about. Olga won't leave though, no matter how rude Caroline is being (and she is being very rude), she drops off her housewarming present and asks to use the loo. Ah poor Caroline. She gets to choose NOTHING, only having to put up with everyone else's shite and rudeness and entitlement and she can't even enjoy whatever comfort Olga might have normally brought, because of the Celia factor.
Olga's made herself quite at home, joking with Harry and fending off Celia suggesting that SURELY there might be another wine delivery person closer to wherever they are? Harry thinks it's very apropos that Celia is playing a medium in Blythe Spirit; this very home they're in is haunted! By Matthew Normington who used to clip corners of coins until caught and hanged for murder and stuff. William wants to know exactly WHERE Matthew Normington's ghost has been seen and Caroline, who's been indicating madly behind William's back finally comes out with it. "Don't start putting lurid ideas into gullible, into people's heads!"
Harry is convinced to continue, poor old Matthew's ghost is told to be seen with his face pressed up against a downstairs window just before a death...power goes out!
The next morning, Caroline wakes up Olga up, time to go! She'll make breakfast, just GO. In the parking lot, Olga lays it out for Caroline: you're a really easy person to like in the beginning, then it becomes like: hard work and I NEVER. Git! Caroline admits it, she's not the first to say it and she won't be the last. See ya
William's straight at Caroline when she gets back inside; why is there no heat? Why didn't she get the boiler fixed before they moved in? Is that Olga still here? He was only being polite when he called her interesting, Caroline calls her "an ill-advised foray into...god knows." She defends Olga, there is more to her than meets the eye! She's less serious than Caroline, anyway.
William thought she loved it at Sulgrave Heath, and this big move: aren't you not supposed to make any huge decisions until a year after bereavement? It's only just been over a year, and she is very much still bereaved. Why didn't he say anything then? He just always assumed she knew what she was doing. Ah Caroline, the curse of the strong, people never help you.
Alan's popped into town for some Christmas shopping and a pint with Harry when Celia rings: Gerald's had a heart attack! Now I'm pretty sure she said his part is that of an athletic 40 year old; she said Alan would do it! Come on down! He can't start learning lines at his age! (heh!) If he doesn't, they might have to cancel the show and it's already sold out! He takes the plunge, all right, he'll do it! All he has to lose is his dignity and self-respect (thanks Harry!). The crew asks, to make sure: Alan has acted before, right? Oh of course lies Celia! And we're oot
It was so lovely to see everyone again, I am a wee bit sad to see that our glorious Caroline is still miserable and carrying around the millstone of her nightmare of a mother, who truly does have a good heart. I'm sure. Somewhere in there.
I don't know what to think of Gillian and her ghost stories, is this her way of working up to telling Robbie about Eddie? What will he do if she does? He's off the force now (awfully young to be retired, isn't he?), do you think his view on "murder is murder" has softened at all? I think Nicola Walker looks FANTASTIC, by the by.
I noticed a little more of the strong personality holding the rest of the group hostage this time; Celia, Gillian, but not Caroline. She's always in the back, tending to all the high-strung and taking it in the neck. Not literally like Robbie, though, thank goodness he's okay. I always liked Robbie, I think Gillian's guilt is bringing things to a head.
Until next time, which is TONIGHT! Woo hoo!! So excited and glad to see this back, cheers!