In The Club. Cold Feet with babies

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In The Club. Cold Feet with babies

May 03, 2016 - 22:19
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Average: 3.3 (20 votes)
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If you’re a fan of Call The Midwife, One Born Every Minute, The Secret Life Of Babies, Five Star Babies and all the other baby programmes you’ll just love In The Club.

In the Club

If you’re a fan of Call The Midwife, One Born Every Minute, The Secret Life Of Babies, Five Star Babies and all the other baby programmes you’ll just love In The Club.

Returning to BBC1 for a second series, Kay Mellor’s drama about new mums and their kids is a swirling mass of pregnancy and childbirth. Great if you like that sort of thing, dreadful if you don’t.

The heroines met at ante natal classes and are all now firm friends for life. Some of them are expecting again, others are struggling to cope with their first born. And, naturally, their re-lay-shun-ships are suffering. The poor dads are having a hard time too. I really care whether they work things out.

It’s a kind of maternal version of Cold Feet. Without the laughs. For me, episode one was a hellish nightmare. The definition of what not to watch. By the time some brat was delivered in a lift I’d lost the will to live.

I’m sure this cosy ode to motherhood will hit the spot with its target audience. But I fear this is a club I won’t be joining. Even if I could.

What do think? Write your review.

There are 11 Comments

Nige Smith's picture

It's ok, nothing special, follows a familiar pattern and formula. Decent cast, OK tv if a little cliched here and there.

mansellmum's picture

Not too bad for a first episode, found it a bit confusing working out who was who, maybe I should have seen the first series first. Pretty obvious who left the new born baby in the toilet, spent a while trying to work out that the sex starved Mum was off the Malteser advert, a chorus of "Oh yeah" went round the room. The part in the lift was a bit far fetched, baby just seemed to pop out, no cord was cut, no placenta and all was well (if only that was true life). Think it is well worth another look next week.

laigna's picture

Don't usually watch baby programmes but, quite enjoyed the last series. Found the 'in your face' camera close-ups of sloppy kissing tedious. Kept falling asleep, so I guess it's a 'no' from me.

SCARFMAN_'s picture

Speaking as a man, I will therefore never have to experience the absolute agony of childbirth(thank the Lord) . With this in mind, together with me not fathering any children yet or rating drama writer Kay Mellor ever that highly throughout the years, I was therefore rather surprised at just how much I enjoyed the first series of her new baby drama 'In The Club' a few years ago. Up to that point I had found Kay's dramas a tad bland and boring,e.g 'Fat Friends'. 'In The Club' had a more of an edge to it though that I had not expected prior to watching it. As it progressed the writing really gripped me . Overall, I thought the first series was a triumph and was pleased upon hearing it had been recommissioned for a second series.

The first episode of the second series aired last night and my verdict is that I thought it was....'not bad'. I did not love it but at the same time I did not hate it either. It failed to dramatically grab me like the first episode of series one did, nevertheless it was still an enjoyable watch with some fine writing and acting on show.

My biggest criticism of this first episode is that I initially found it slightly confusing regarding two of the new mothers in the last series, now being pregnant once again. Until I worked it out correctly, I sat there wondering for a time if my memory had got it wrong and that their present pregnancies were the same ones that we had learned all about in the previous series. This I accept now is madness on my part because no woman has a pregnancy going on for two years(even though it might feel like it), unless the NHS is even in a worse state than I feared?? Hopefully you get the point I am trying to make though. I just found this aspect of the story confusing when I was already trying to remember their backstories from the first series as I watched. I am not sure I believed it either to be honest, that the young Rosie character(played well by Hannah Midgley) who is barely out of nappies herself, would then get herself get pregnant once again(as muddled up as she is).

Actress Katherine Parkinson gave a superb performance last series as the sexually confused pregnant part-time teacher Kim Hall, and yet again I thought she was the best thing in it last night. I find her portrayal of this character very natural as well as extremely believable. I could quite happily just watch this drama if it was just about her and her fella Neil(played by Jonathan Kerrigan). Due to her recent childbirth Kim started off in this episode feeling all frumpy and down, but then ended up all frisky thanks to a row with her former lesbian lover. That sounds a tad flippant but it was well written and must have struck a cord out there with lots of mothers who have gone through the same thing (the feeling frumpy, insecure and exhausted bit).

The 'frustrated' part of my headline is to do the storyline we saw concerning the characters Jasmin and Dev Sidhwa. Pregnant again but now this time with twins, we saw them being told grave news that there was a serious problem with her pregnancy. The medicine bit flew over my head somewhat but least to say the coming weeks are going to be emotional ones for this pair. Have to be honest, I find the ditsy Jasmin character played by Taj Atwal rather irritating. Would anybody really be as overly fussy and seemingly have their head-in-the clouds as much as she seems too? The answer to this is quite possibly I guess and I know she is a contrast to the more 'intelligent serious' characters in the show but I find her pretty annoying all the same.

The actor not in last night's episode that much but who for me was the star of series one, was Will Mellor who plays Rick Manning. Until I saw him in the first series of this, I never knew he had it in him to pull off such a serious role so well. Last night we briefly saw him visited in prison by his beleaguered wife Diane(played by Jill Halfpenny). With his impending release from prison happening soon we were given a hint that marriage troubles lie ahead for these two when they finally do become a reunited family once more.

It is never going to dramatically hit you like say a 'Happy Valley' did because quite frankly that would be like comparing a nappy with a dummy, i.e yes both are dramas within this very broad genre, but they are at total opposite ends of the scale. Having said that, 'In The Club' does possess a tiny element of that superb northern earthiness that we gloriously witness throughout the sublime Happy Valley. 'In The Club' might not be amazing but it is definitely worth sticking with in the coming weeks........just try not to ever feel FRUMPY, FRUSTRATED AND FRISKY whilst watching! 3/5.

FiFig's picture

I saw a BBC ad for In The Club and wondered if I had seen it before as all the characters seemed familiar and in a familiar setting. I trawled BBC IPlayer and caught a six minute recap of the first series. More second series should do this. A jog of my memory is often advisible. Kay Mellor is usually well worth a watch except sometimes one series is quite enough.

SCARFMAN_'s picture

When I was a teenager I used to play cricket for a junior club side that my late father was the coach of. I know for a fact that some of the other lads(players) thought I was only being picked because he was the coach,i.e bias. This I hasten to add was complete and utter nonsense you understand, I was that good I could have been the next Sir Ian Botham........HONEST(I'm NOT really being honest). Sadly for me though I also had the same mental toughness as "Nervous Nerys" from Only Fools and Horses so I was never destined to make it at a very high level playing sport(don't it still hurts.....not really). Stay with me now after this rather strange opening to a TV review, because there is a very tenuous link coming up here with the second episode of In The Club.....I promise!

The tenuous link is that one of the things that has irritated me slightly whenever viewing a drama by Kay Mellor is that usually a member of her family pops up in them, usually her actress daughter Gaynor Mellor/Faye. I must declare here that I have nothing personally against Gaynor because she is a perfectly good actress in her own right. Nevertheless, her connection and regular appearance in her Mum's shows really started to grate on me awhile back, so much so that I was pretty shocked that she never appeared in the first series on In The Club. With this in mind then, last Tuesday night I just got settled down to watch episode two of the new series of In The Club and whose name did I see credited as the writer of this episode' just before the narrative other than Gaynor Mellor herself(cue me rolling my eyes in frustration....argh). I was going to see past this though and view it with an open mind I told myself.

Overall, I thought this second episode was just OK. Some of it held my attention but I also found some bits of it boring too. On occasions, I found myself drifting off and thinking about other stuff and then switching back on to it. It was the first time whilst watching it, that I wondered to myself if there were loads of women out there lapping this up unlike me. I felt slightly alienated as a male viewer. I did not hate it but it just felt more like a soap opera at times than a prime time TV drama,i.e content more appealing to women, a very female programme. Most of the narrative failed to dramatically grip me, even the sections that were clearly supposed too.

This episode was all about surprises. For example, Rick just back from prison was surprised to find out that his wife Diane had become the Mary Poppins of the north whilst he had been away. Roanna was shocked to find out that her vile ex-husband was capable of being nice to her after all(not sure I bought his new 'nice personality' transplant), and Kim was still in shock that she was indeed enjoying sleeping with her hunky man(I bought that bit). As viewers, I guess the two most surprising bits were Roanna snogging her former nasty ex-husband and midwife Vicky becoming embroiled in a case where she discovered a new mother had passed away suddenly who was under her care.

Talking of Vicky, am I the only one that finds the disappearance of her fella and father of her new baby a bit hard to believe? We are supposedly talking here about a clever Consultant Gynecologist fella(Dr Bellingham) who had just become a father, yet we are expected to believe that he's left his baby and job and gone travelling half way around the world trying to find that woman to whom he married just for the money(when a medical student) so he can get a divorce.....then are we?? I think I am right with this storyline and if so then it is about as believable as me saying at the start of this review that I could have been the next Ian Botham.

I am still to be won over or convinced either by the new characters Maxine and Shelly, especially the former. I still do not know enough about them yet to care about them. I guess in the coming weeks all will be revealed regarding the baby Maxine supposedly had in the toilets, but I do wish their storylines would get a move on.

All in all then a drama still worth sticking with however I do sense my interest in it is waning somewhat. I need episode three to draw me back in like I was once before, I want to feel excited once more about watching IN THE CLUB! 3/5.

Didoh's picture

I love Kay Mellor and ALL the dramas she has given us. I caught up with the first three episodes of In The Club yesterday and tbh I almost turned off before the end of the third epi because the tension was just too much!!

Maybe I felt it more because I binged out watching the first 3 episodes in one go; maybe it was because the storylines and actors were so fricking good, but whatever it was, I was in need of a stiff drink and I'm still unsure if I'll be watching the next episode!

scottss's picture

I've watched all the shows but this series really is just so over the top with the dumb male cliches. We can't seem to do ANYTHING right. So off putting....

SCARFMAN_'s picture


By Scarfman

In 2008 Gareth McLean in The Guardian asked if there was 'a TV equivalent of difficult second album syndrome'? He went on to confirm that indeed there was and cited a few examples to support his theory. He was referring here of course to when a successful first series of a television programme, is then followed up by a lacklustre second effort. 'In The Club' has just had a bad case of 'second series syndrome' in my view. Interesting characters and narrative in the first series were replaced mostly with blandness. On the whole, I found this second helping of 'In The Club' a pretty uninspiring effort I'm afraid!

The main problem I had with episode six(the series finale) was that I failed to find the main dramatic storyline, that dramatic or moving like I was meant too. This episode centred around the tricky pregnancy of Jasmin(Taj Atwal) who finally went into labour. Earlier in the series we had learned how one of her twins was smaller than the other and so there was a chance it might not survive. There was the 'dramatic moment' when upon examining Jasmin, midwife Vicky could not initially find the heartbeat of smaller baby number two. Seconds later the tension was defused when it's heartbeat was found. Rather than being moved by this though I thought it was all a bit overacted and a touch corny.

Still with this storyline of Jasmin and Dev, the next big momentous decision for her was when she decided that she would try and have both her twins via natural vaginal births(thank the Lord I'd recently given up ketchup as I ate a late tea). Again though, I thought the scene where Jasmin decided this with Dr Stone was very overdramatized. Overdramatized and overacted to the extent that I failed to lose my suspension of disbelief, i.e it drew my attention to the fact that they were actresses 'acting'.

Geraldine(midwife) : "C'mon Jasmin darling, nearly there. That's it KEEP PUSHING, KEEP PUSHING. Pretend you're having a BIG POO".

We then had the dramatic scene of where Jasmin gave birth to smaller twin number two. My problem with this scene though and with such dialogue in the quote above that I have listed, is that I have now become fully desensitized from any sort of emotion when seeing babies born in TV dramas. This is primarily because I have seen so many and particularly in this show. The shock value has gone that much that I found this scene boring and unoriginal rather than being dramatic. It reminded me of when I used to love that ITV drama about the London Fire Brigade called 'London's Burning'. Initially, them put dangerous fires out was really dramatic stuff to watch. Nevertheless, as time wore on the novelty wore off and it became dull and as well monotonous to watch. This is how I felt about watching babies being born by the end of the second series of 'In The Club'.

I also had issues with the dialogue of Dev(Sacha Dhawan) in this episode. I get that he is meant to be one of the funnier characters in the show however I found him mostly irritating here. All this business about him nearly fainting in the delivery room, again it just smacked of unoriginality to me to do this same joke again(it was funnyish the first time but not the second). I accept I did smirk at his inappropriate timing when he asked Jasmin did she want a snack just as she was about to deliver the baby. This though was then followed by a corny comment by him as he stated it killed him once going for a poo. Corny is definitely the best way that I would describe most of his dialogue in this episode.

The rest of episode six featured Kim stressing about leaving her baby at a nursery for the first time, Roanna stressing that she may have crippled Jonathan and also her stressing that her newly ex boyfriend Luke had just got her seventeen year old daughter pregnant. There was also the revelation that Rosie had developed a social anxiety phobia about going outside. I did wonder if writer Kay Mellor had developed an anxiety disorder about having this character in the show anymore because compared to the first series, I found it somewhat puzzling that she hardly seemed to be in this second one at all.

I did not hate this second series because I watched all of it but like I said at the top, it just lacked the spark and originality of the first one for me. Episode five was the strongest episode by a country mile. This was the one where midwife Vicky was found not guilty of any negligence at work. This happiness was juxtaposed by the dramatic ending as Roanna mistakenly knocked over Jonathan in her car. It was dramatic tense stuff which reminded me why I enjoyed the first series so much. I therefore looked forward to seeing the series finale the week after, but rather than enjoyment I found it to be a bit of a letdown.

The best two characters and actors in this show were not in this second series enough. My favourite female actress in it is Katherine Parkinson who plays blogger/teaching assistant Kim Hall. She was in the first episode a lot but then hardly seemed to be in it much again until episode six. Rick Manning played by Will Mellor is the best male character in it however yet again like Kim/Katherine I thought he was underused. Rick had gone from doing a dramatic attempted robbery in the first series, to then just delivering pizzas in the second(I rest my case, your honour).

At the end of the first series of 'In The Club' I was hoping it would be recommissioned and duly it was. After now seeing the second series then my verdict is one of indifference with regards to wanting anymore of it to be made. Since it finished I have read that writer Kay Mellor intends to leave it awhile should a third series be given the go ahead. She stated how the story could next be picked up when the characters children have just started school. I think this is the correct decision by her because at the moment BIRTHS and BABIES on the TV equals BOREDOM for me! 3/5.