Footballers' Wives: Series 3

Footballers' Wives: Series 3


Reviewed by: Keith Dudhnath

It's a fresh season at Earls Park FC. They have an incoming manager Roger Webb (Jessie Birdsall) and two new star players, England captain Conrad Gates (Ben Price) and naive wunderkind Harley Lawson (Jamie Davis). Former star Kyle Pascoe (Gary Lucy) goes off the rails after losing his spot in the limelight. Tough agent Hazel Bailey (Alison Newman) sees an opportunity to wrest control of the club from Frank Laslett (John Forgeham). Two wives, Tanya Turner (Zoe Lucker) and Amber Gates (Laila Rouass), fight constantly from the first moment they meet. Oh, and there are Triads, lions, dogs being cooked, kidnap plots, lashings of plastic surgery, voodoo curses, gay escorts, gambling addiction and more affairs than you could shake a stick at. Just the usual.

Until now I've managed to avoid the Footballers' Wives phenomenon. I'm rather glad I did. I can see the intent to make a kitsch, camp, over the top soap opera, with storylines to make all the other soaps pale into insignificance. What I can't see is how it can amount to anything more than Jilly Cooper-style trash.

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Footballers' Wives is very much not my cup of tea, but criticism of it extends further than just a difference of taste. It's not the telling parody of slimy decadence that some claim it is. David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and, to a lesser extent, Michael Owen, or aspects of their characters, are writ large for anyone who's ever picked up a tabloid to see. Whilst their fictional equivalents may be cranked up sufficiently to avoid legal action, how can a story about people with more money than sense compare to the real lives of people with more money than sense? Dogging, roasting, kidnap plots, elderly prostitutes. Why parody the self-parodying?

For what it is, the acting isn't too bad. It's deliberately over the top and no one holds back. The scripts help this along, but too often the dialogue mistakes conflict for a feed line and a punch line. Witty and/or bitchy retorts are great, but the edge is taken off if one protagonist has all but told their supposed enemy what to reply. It's all been done so much better elsewhere.

As I've never seen it before, I cannot comment on whether Series 3 is as good as the previous ones. I can see that it's going to be around for many years to come, as people continue to enjoy its overt trashiness. It's not for me, though.

At a time when the mighty Liverpool came back from 3-0 down to win the Champions League final, the on-field drama is far more gripping than any off-field shenanigans that Footballers' Wives can offer.

Reviewed on: 04 Jun 2005
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Footballers' Wives: Series 3 packshot
The continuing saga of a dysfunctional footbal club.
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Writer: Maureen Chadwick, Helen Childs, Jaden Clark, Phil Ford, Liz Lake, Paul Marquess, Ann McManus, Guy Picot, Harriet Warner

Starring: Peter Ash, Sarah Barrand, Jesse Birdsall, Caroline Chikezie, Jamie Davis, John Forgeham, Zöe Lucker, Gary Lucy, Marcel McCalla, Alison Newman, Ben Price, Laila Rouass, Gillian Taylforth

Year: 2004

Runtime: 442 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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