This BBC two-parter of a David Nicholls script boasts two of my favourite actors: David Morrissey and Olivia Colman, ably supported by Sheridan Smith. Actually it’s Colman who’s the support and I was worried, after episode one, that she would be wasted in such a small role. Morrissey and Smith become friends on the titular 7.39 hour-long commute to London and if what follows is predictable, the way it is portrayed is not. Two people behaving unfaithfully, without intending to, in an entirely convincing way.
Nicholls’ novel One Day (2009) was brilliant in its creation of convincing characters and he repeats the ‘trick’ in this TV film. The development of Carl and Sally’s (or should that be Sally and Carl’s?) relationship is entirely logical, if immoral. We can condemn their behaviour at the same time as understanding why they behaved in the way they did. Colman, of course, it turns out wasn’t wasted and her blistering attack on her perfidious husband blew out of the screen and, I’m sure, resonated with many women (probably less men) throughout the country.
I liked the way Smith’s Sally was as much, and possibly more, the one who pushes for an ‘affair’ and how she is the one who, in the end, sees it for what it is. I also loved the marvellous ambiguity on Morrissey’s face at the end when he sees Sally two years after the affair had ended: ‘is he happy for her and/or sad for himself?’