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Writing Reunited was an easy job, but just don't ask Ed Byrne to play squash

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Mike Bullen Mike Bullen | 15:16 UK time, Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The idea of Reunited was given to me by an Australian friend who'd recently been invited to the reunion of a house-share he'd been a part of.

I could immediately see the potential for writing a comedy drama - the idea of former friends with a shared history but whose lives have gone off in different directions.

I gave the characters a juicy back-story as to why they'd lost touch, and a reason for why they were reuniting at this point in their lives. The rest followed from there.

The cast of Reunited

Some scripts are easier to write than others. This one came together quite quickly and didn't change massively between the first and final draft. That's either a sign of extreme laziness on my part or - hopefully - an indication that we were in good shape from the start.

So what was I trying to achieve? The same as always - to amuse and entertain and along the way maybe toss in some observations about life.

In Reunited the central character, Martin, is engaged to be married when an old flame steps back into his life. I wanted to explore the powerful pull that the past exerts - particularly when the past in question was your first love.

I was more involved in Reunited than any other show I've written. So much so I think people cringed when they saw me coming.

Although I've worked for the BBC before, when I made Sunburn with Michelle Collins, Cold Feet and Life Begins were for ITV so I had come to think of ITV as my spiritual home. But you go where the love is, you know? And the BBC has been fabulous.

They were really keen to help me realise my vision for the script. To that end they insisted I should be on location throughout the shoot so I could keep an eye on things.

Martin, played by Joseph Millson, with Sophie, played by Jemima Rooper

In the past I've rarely visited the set because for the writer it's deadly boring - he or she is largely redundant. But the director, Simon Delaney, was really collaborative and embraced my input.

It was the best experience I've had on a production. Though Simon might have a different view!

Casting in particular was a collaborative process. But without the right actors you're stuffed. We spent months choosing our cast. Not only did we have to get the right person for each part, we had to be confident that the chemistry between them would work.

At the time casting the stand-up comedian Ed Byrne amongst an ensemble that boasted serious acting chops felt like a risk. Watching the show I wonder why there was any debate - like the others, he absolutely nails it.

I wanted the friendship of the central male characters to have an element of competition underlying it, so I decided they'd be squash buddies. Unfortunately, I hadn't counted on our actors (Joseph Millson and Ed Byrne) being - how shall I put this - less than county standard.

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In the end the director thought it best to dispense with a ball. So in the (brief!) squash sequence, many of the shots are air-swings, with the sound effect of ball hitting racquet added later. And I added some lines so that, if we go to series, they can play poker instead.

I guess it's inevitable that people will ask if this is the new Cold Feet but I'd rather avoid any comparison.

It is the first time I've returned to writing about that age group, but this is a very different crowd. For starters, they're not even sure they're that keen on each other. I hope people will judge Reunited on its own merits and, once they've seen this episode, want to see more!

Mike Bullen is the writer of Reunited.

Reunited first airs at 9pm on Wednesday, 30 June on BBC One.


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  • Comment number 1.

    The series looking very interesting and the appraisal from the writer very forthright - good luck Mr Bullen !!

  • Comment number 2.

    Just watched the show....best thing I've seen on the BBC in a long time....more please!

  • Comment number 3.

    Just finished to watch reunion-What a brilliant sitcom, original, refreshing, funny-london-based bunch of the everyday people I meet at the school gate! keep it coming!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Great show - my flatmate and I really enjoyed it but very disappointed to see it's not a series... more please!

  • Comment number 5.

    Really enjoyed this and hope you make it into a series...

  • Comment number 6.

    OMG Reunited is the funniest thing I have seen in an age, please tell me there is more to come!!

  • Comment number 7.

    just watched the pilot, more please, can we have a complete series soon, makes a change to have something worth watching instead of soaps, diy, medical, reality rubbish

  • Comment number 8.

    Please continue the series- it was great pilot episode, The charitures with the twists full of affairs, history and depression, please continue!!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    Loved this. Good on the BBC for piloting a thirty-something drama like this - which I think is seen as a risky genre. Much better than the last 30-something drama lead actor was in for ITV (Talk to Me - very similar role), but then you'd expect that from Mike Bullen.
    Please make this into a series, the BBC!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    Just watch Reunited absolutely FAB please make more soon!!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    What a great Pilot - please let there be more - we need more 30 something drama on the BBC! Can't wait to see the series!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Loved this show please make it a series !!!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Wow! What can I say - that was great. Hope it gets made into a series. So much better than anything I've seen for ages. A welcome change to reality tv, football and tennis!! Thanks Mr Bullen.

  • Comment number 14.

    Best new drama i've seen on BBC for a while, please make this into a series!!! Very good acting and a great Pilot - my girlfriend and I will be hoping you decide to go with it, Ed Byrne will be great!

  • Comment number 15.

    Love the pilot episode please make it into a full season. Its excellent and there's nothing good on any other channels that can even compare to this. I can see it being a big hit as a full show. I think everyone will want to know if martin marries sophie or if hannah is going to cause trouble for them... and then theres belle and the affair ! and i like the character of fran she seems like a bit of a black sheep of the gang. !! All the characters were spot on, and it was a good mix of comedy and drama. Best bit of tv for a long time. !!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Fab, fab, fab... script ran like a dream. Would love to see more - even tried to series link it just to find that it was only a taster!!
    Best of luck and I hope that these true characters can come back to life for us again very soon...

  • Comment number 17.

    I have just watched the episode. Absolutely brilliant, they have to make a series out of this. The characters are great and I actually gave a damn about them. Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 18.

    OMG,I was just getting my remote to switch over to channel 4 when I saw the first scene of reunited and I was completely hooked. i specificaly came to the BBC website to check out when reunited is next on cos no announcement was made after the show. A one off pilot?? I hope that means their is more to come. Cast great, story line superb more pls.

  • Comment number 19.

    good show.. i thought it was a series initially... will it be shown as series ?

  • Comment number 20.

    First thing I've seen on the BBC for ages that i've really enjoyed and got into and liked the characters!! Really hope this gets the thumbs up from the 'powers that be' to make a full series.

  • Comment number 21.

    I just watched reunited, and thought it was brilliant, really hope the bbc decide to do a series as it was a funny and very topical drama with a great cast. I would love to see more of this, to see how the story lines continue and to see what happens to the friends.

  • Comment number 22.

    I cannot believe that this was a pilot.. Bring it on. Best thing I have watched on TV in a very long time - loved it!!! Thank you

  • Comment number 23.

    Really can't believe that I have been watching the same programme as everyone else.

    Lazy, predictable script. Smug, dislikeable characters. Essentially, it had the merits of an 80's Nescafe advert extended over an hour.

    Overall, it just felt too cynical - it knew its targeted audience and pandered to it completely. No imagination, no creativity. Please BBC - no series.

  • Comment number 24.

    SOUNDTRACK??!! Do we have a cd available, or does anyone have a list of tracks, I spotted a Paul Weller track and th Wings track name escapes me, grrr Any help mucho appreciated.

  • Comment number 25.

    It's terrible - no not the program that was great (good casting BTW)- but the fact its not on next week! Get it made BBC.

  • Comment number 26.

    yes agree with previous message person. Please let us have a list of tracks. I must find out if it was paulo nuttini singing please. thanks very much. Great show. Must have a series.

  • Comment number 27.

    I really enjoyed watching this, just the antidote to a busy day. I take on board what you are saying Dazed_and_Confused (as the only person so far criticising this pilot) and I do agree with some of what you say. In the end, though, the script to life is often lazy and predictable and many of its characters are smug and dislikeable.

    I thought Ed Byrne was great (his character really minded me of someone as I'm sure was the case for many) and I found the fact that I didn't immediately fall in love with the characters quite realistic - I rarely walk in to a room full of strangers and come out loving them all after an hour. There is room for them to grow, not all the cards on yet on the table.

    As for no imagination I disagree - there wasn't much but I don't want to be thinking too hard at 9pm on a work night! And just how far can you run with a comedy/drama about some fairly normal people. Good show beeb - let's have a series.

  • Comment number 28.

    Watched Reunited tonight and thought it was one of the best pieces of drama I have seen for ages. Really hope it turns into a series.

  • Comment number 29.

    Please help!
    What was the song playing when Rob and Hanah were in his house drinking wine?
    It's driving me mad!

  • Comment number 30.

    Thanks to everyone who's said nice things about the show. And please keep them coming - that way we might get to series!

  • Comment number 31.

    Loved this pilot episode of Reunited!! please make it into a series think there is so much more behind each charachter!! refreshing to watch something that is not crime and murder based! I am begining to become paranoid when out shopping and dusk sets in!!!!
    Well done Mike Bullen, more please!!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    Brilliant! I too came onto the site to find out about the next episode for sky+ series link. Very upset to see it wasn't there..... more please?!

  • Comment number 33.

    Quality writing and believable funny characters.The car buying scene was hilarious,but I am breaking up,where was the credits at the end for the songs played, particularly the song near the end (Lyrics:its better,its better with you here)can anybody tell me who sings this song.
    And come on bbc lets have a series.

  • Comment number 34.

    Anyone got a list (full or partial) of the music played? - some great stuff but I didn't recognise quite a few of them. Many Thanks

  • Comment number 35.

    More plese!!

  • Comment number 36.

    I thought Reunited was fantastic. Even my husband sat & watched it all. We were both gutted when we realised it was a one-off, we are definitely waiting for the series!!!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    I watched. And groaned. Appalling hackneyed script. So much 'acting' going on. This felt like Cold Feet without the originality of the early series. And where exactly was the 'comedy'. The wholehearted enthusiasm that this show has received here smack of a campaign by the makers to get it to series. Resist. At best this is a return to Gold Blend ads - except they had more 'humour'.

  • Comment number 38.

    I've just watched the pilot. I cannot believe that patronising rubbish like this is being shown when far more imaginative and interesting comedy like Sarah and Lizzie (written by and starring the brilliant and very talented Jessica Hines and Julia Davis) wasn't even given a look in for a full series. Reunited is cliched, appallingly written, lazy, awfully directed and not funny. I found the whole thing embarrassing and symptomatic of how run of the mill and inane most of the 'comedy' on the BBC is. Very disappointed. But actually not in the least surprised.

  • Comment number 39.

    Quite simply the worst TV single drama I can recall. The script was dreadful, the dialogue cliché ridden and over-laden with uninteresting, shallow, and unconvincing back story. The characters were not believable and no era context braking through. I cannot believe it got through the channel controller. Where was the script supervisor? We were shell shocked at what we’d just seen it was so appalling. No surprise that screeners weren’t released to the media. Cold Feet or This Life this was not. Thank goodness for Ed Byrne who injected an instinctive performance despite being ambushed by some cringe making lines. I find it hard to believe the director was allowed to have a voice.

  • Comment number 40.

    I liked it, and would be great to see it made into a series.

    As for people asking for a list of the music (one I couldn't get was the scene with Hannah and Rob drinking wine) Here's what I could get ...

    No Tears to Cry - Paul Weller
    Mercy - Duffy
    Time to Pretend - MGMT
    Hey Ya - Outkast
    Last Night - The Strokes
    Over and Over - Hot Chip
    Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five - Paul McCartney / Wings
    You've Got The Love - Florence and the Machine
    Young Love - Mystery Jets feat. Laura Marling
    Me and Baby Brother - War
    After Hours - We Are Scientists
    Gravity - Embrace
    Tears Dry On Their Own - Amy Winehouse
    Black and Gold - Sam Sparro
    Made Up Love Song #43 - Guillemots
    Smile Like You Mean It - The Killers
    Better - Tom Baxter
    Love For Sale - Oliver Jackson Trio
    You've Got The Love - Florence and the Machine

  • Comment number 41.

    I am so glad I tuned in to this last night.. I thought it was a one off until I read on wikipedia it was a pilot..
    previously I have enjoyed all of Mike Bullens series..
    and this was no exception.. it left you wanting more..and I started to care about the characters..true signs that this indeed could be a successful series.. I think it can go far!!
    good acting.. too.. it does remind me a little of cold feet, but I loved that series and watched it numerous times so thats good!!..
    Please please please please make this into a series.. with so much rubbish and sport on the tv at the moment.. this could make wednesday evenings so much better!! ps my hubby enjoyed it too!! :-)

  • Comment number 42.

    Loved it! Just one problem for me, waiting for the series.
    I feel completely hooked already. Please make it a series and soon. Thank you.

  • Comment number 43.

    i would like to know the music credits, there was some really good music played in the background !!

  • Comment number 44.

    Agree with the majority of the posters - thought it was great and gutted to find out it's just a pilot!!! Definitely hope it is made into a series and keep that great music coming too.

  • Comment number 45.

    What a pile of rubbish! Acting & storyline was weak and predictable. i can't believe this was made into a programme. No more thanks!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Please do not subject us to more of this boring, cliched nonsense. I am beginning to wonder if Mike Bullen has ever met anyone aged 30 and I would be mortified if anyone thought me and my friends were as dull and smug as this. I could assemble six of my friends at random and give you better backstory and dialogue than in Reunited.

    It's hackneyed rubbish, please never let it darken our screens again, and note to Mike Bullen - sometimes anecdotes from mates should remain just that.

  • Comment number 47.

    I came across Reunited by chance last night - thoroughly enjoyed it. Would love to see this make it to a series.

  • Comment number 48.

    Hi, I registered just to comment and say that I really enjoyed this, the actors and the writing, and I would love to see it made into a series!

  • Comment number 49.

    I had BBC One on in background and was completely hooked when Reunited came on. Absolutely loved it and was quite disappointed to find it's just a one off pilot! Please please make it into a series!

  • Comment number 50.

    Wow! It's fascinating reading the comments posted here. Firstly, no, there isn't a concerted effort to gain support for the show. As far as I'm aware, the people who've written in praise truly enjoyed it. Go figure! As for the handful who've gone to the trouble of expressing their disdain - well, at least I can take comfort in the knowledge that I apparently have a future writing coffee ads?!

  • Comment number 51.

    Also just joined to comment....loved it, i was crying and laughing....more needed :)

  • Comment number 52.

    Great programme - hoping its commissioned! We need another programme like this to caputure our hearts!

  • Comment number 53.

    My partner and I sat down to watch last night, more in hope than anticipation of an entertaining hour or so. Wow, what an excellent and entertaining programme! Brilliant and let's have a series please!

  • Comment number 54.

    I just watched re-united on I-player. It was great! I was actually really disappointed when it ended. I hope it gets made into a full series

  • Comment number 55.

    I think this drama needs to be seen in its context. Ten years ago people were talking about the end of 30-something drama (since broadcasters thought it was an exhausted format and no-one would write anything like Cold Feet again...etc) so I think it's great that the BBC have commissioned this - and by the same great writer.

    No, I don't think it's as good as Cold Feet so far....but it's a promising beginning (please BBC).

    If it's not as edgy or rooted in the contemporary as, say, Mistresses, then perhaps it's trying to do something different - we neeed to wait and see!

  • Comment number 56.

    I thought the script was predictable and clunky. It painted an awful picture of 30-somethings - they don't seem to have grown up at all since they last met 8 years ago. No wonder they sent their erstwhile housemate to the brink of another breakdown! There has been some terrific drama across all BBC channels (and some of the others) recently and I don't think this one will be missed if it doesn't develop into a series.

  • Comment number 57.

    awww to all those expressing their disdain.. do you know how successful `cold feet` was..no I thought not.. ha! and if you didnt like it...why did you watch it???
    Mr Bullen portrayed the 8 characters very well I thought..dull.. I think not!! the characters were all different but you are entitled to your opinion of course..as for me, well I want to know what happens next??? many people who did enjoy it... wont think to leave a comment on here!!

  • Comment number 58.

    Good effort Lydia!
    Every one except the one I wanted!
    I know the song but just can't get it!

    Can you find out Mike?

    Was it Pete Yorn??

  • Comment number 59.

    Really enjoyed the show last night and hope you get a series. I can't wait to find out what happens to Danny and the wife who is having an affair. The actors were spot on and I felt like they were recognisable.

  • Comment number 60.

    I thought it was brilliant. I made my husband watch it, as he never watches things like that without being pushed, and he absolutely loved it.
    Please, please make it into a series a.s.a.p.

  • Comment number 61.

    Loved it! Great idea and believable characters. Series as soon as humanly possible please, instead of the interminable reality rubbish we are bombarded with!

  • Comment number 62.

    I have watched and enjoyed all of Mike Bullen's shows and have to say I think Reunited was absolutely excellent. Acutely observed, brilliantly cast and hugely entertaining - I really do wonder if some of the contributors of negative comments here were actually watching something else!! We are badly in need of good original comedy drama in British TV given the banality of the current surfeit of reality/cooking/cop shows and the BBC is its natural home. It is surely inconceivable that writing of this obvious quality is not commissioned as a series. Please BBC DO NOT miss this opportunity! We want to see more of Reunited!

  • Comment number 63.

    Really enjoyed this! Was concerned it was a one-off, so very pleased to see it's a pilot, with more to come.

    Stop blogging, get writing!

  • Comment number 64.

    fantastic, loved every minute, can't wait to see the next installment

  • Comment number 65.

    This was an extremely refreshing watch and I want to see more. Is there anyone from the BBC that can confirm plans for a full length series and when we might see it on our screens.

    Good work guys.

  • Comment number 66.

    Brilliant Mike, had me glued to my TV throughout. Can't wait for the next instalment. Bryan

  • Comment number 67.

    Fantastic writing as always. Can't wait for the series which must surely follow.

  • Comment number 68.

    I loved this! I went to bed thinking about next weeks episode only to find that it's a pilot! Oh no! I can't wait! I've read some of the negative comments about the characters being bland, but I meet bland people every day. I think that this just makes it more realistic. Not everyone is sparkly and interesting. I thought that they were far from bland and I couldn't stop watching! Please please please make this into a series BBC!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Really enjoyed Reunited.


    It's Tom Baxter - 'Better'

  • Comment number 70.

    The best thing I've seen for ages - brilliant acting, brilliant characters, intriguing plot and back-story. If it was a novel it would be a real page-turner and I'd be up half the night reading it to see what happens. Please, please - MORE.

  • Comment number 71.

    this is the best thing i have seen on BBC1 for along time keeps you interested, instead of making a cup of tea you can not wait to see who will go to bed with next!thought i could set the tv to record it next week but i am so disapointed to say the least that there isnt any more,please please can we have more of REUNITED ! kind regards Dx

  • Comment number 72.

    I quite surprised by all the positive comments! I thought Reunited was complete pap. I felt the writer was trying too hard. I absolutely loved This Life and Cold Feet and was hoping for something similar. I kept watching hoping it would get better but alas, it didn't. It didn't even raise a smile. Both This Life and Cold Feet were brilliant from the first episode, this was not. I truly hope it doesn't come back as a series.

  • Comment number 73.

    Aces! Love the dynamic, let put the license fee where it'll do some good - lets have a series.

  • Comment number 74.

    Really enjoyed the pilot... thats right a 'pilot' people.... give the creative team a break.... think about all the award winning shows in recent years, both here and stateside, some of those pilots were not great.... I didnt think much of the 'Friends' Pilot at first... now that show is engraved in modern pop culture.

    'Reunited' deserves at least a 6 part series...

    Bit more screen time for Ed Byrne's character please... very funny...

    Best show seen on the BBC in years..... there has been a big hole on British television since 'Cold Feet' concluded and this show could fill it and the viewing figures will come with it ( People want some feel good comedy drama on the TV again!!)

    Hope you get the go ahead for a full series...

    ( Me and my house mates aged 24 - 32 all loved it.... even my mum in her 50s was talking about it on the phone..... thats the critic you need to win over.... ha ha)

    Thumbs up ..... Good show!!

  • Comment number 75.

    It's only the pilot! Nooooooo. Was all amped up for the next episode after watching this. What's worse than waiting another week for the next episode of a show you've really enjoyed? Having to waiting for it to get commissioned and made first! Eeeeeeeeek!

  • Comment number 76.

    I really enjoyed this and I am really looking forward to seeing it as a series best thing since Cold Feet!

  • Comment number 77.

    Thought this was very entertaining - hurry up with a series!!

  • Comment number 78.

    Loved it please can we have some more?

  • Comment number 79.

    I find it difficult to understand the venom expressed by some of those who didn't like Reunited; after all, if a full series *does* follow - and I sincerely hope it will - they don't have to watch it. I thought the writing was excellent, the acting flawless, and the complex and subtle way in which the eight characters interacted with each other was brilliant - the chemistry really worked. I want to add my voice to those clamouring for a series - please!

  • Comment number 80.

    Just wanted to say brilliant! We were so disapointed when we tried to series link to discover it was a pilot. PLEASE make a series.

  • Comment number 81.

    Wow, fantastic, didn't expect that. bring on more soon!!!!

  • Comment number 82.

    Gutted this isn't a series - BBC be kind to your viewing public and make it a series....PLEASE!

  • Comment number 83.

    I was looking on i-player for something to watch and came across Reunited by accident. As someone who does not normally go for this type of programme I found I was hooked straight away and the hour flew by. The character development was excellent and I really want to know what happens next to this group of people. You need to make more! There is a rich vein to be mined here.

  • Comment number 84.

    Really well written, enjoyed it, more please BBC!

  • Comment number 85.

    This show has promise, it was amusing and entertaining. Left me disappointed it was only a one off. Please make it a series (even if they only play poker = less shower scenes) Although the girls could take up badminton or something! ;).

  • Comment number 86.

    The music lydia missed is Kasabian - Fire.

  • Comment number 87.

    I really enjoyed this. I can really identify with the characters, as I think a lot of my friends would.
    Please GIVE ME MORE!

  • Comment number 88.

    I absolutley LOVED this show .. hope it is successful enough to be aired as a series!

  • Comment number 89.

    This show is fantastic! Great plot and a great cast.
    Was gutted to find out it is only a pilot-
    Please make a full series!!

    LOVED it :)

  • Comment number 90.

    I didnt realise it was a pilot and have spent lots of wasted time looking through the schedules in order to find a series link! A series would be good though. Really enjoyed the programme, the comedic moments, the music & the twists and turns of the script were fab.
    looking forward to further episodes

    T x

  • Comment number 91.

    Saw all the ads on the beeb and intended to watch Reunited when it first aired. Unfortunately I was ill that day so had an early night. Luckily my interest was piqued enough to watch on iplayer and I'm thoroughly glad I did. It was the kind of fun, light hearted and easy to watch comic drama I enjoy watching a few times a week, especially with the fantastic cast. Would love this to become a series.

  • Comment number 92.


  • Comment number 93.

    Can I just say I LOVE Reunited I have searched high and low for future episodes please give us more and let me know when we can expect them fantastic sitcom

  • Comment number 94.

    My husband and I just watched the pilot and like many others wanted to check when it would come on again (as we could not see it on the series link or find it on the TV guide). We often series link programmes we like to watch when we can. We found the Reunited really funny and it reminded us of Mistresses which we also want to see back on BBC soon! We can't understand the negative comments, but there is no pleasing everyone and those that do not like the programme do not need to watch it. However, for those of us that did enjoy it we hope you will take our comments onboard and make this into a series so we can enjoy!

  • Comment number 95.

    BBC people can you tell us now- are we getting a series? I keep checking back here but no one from the BBC seems to respond? Some friends watched on the night and loved it but many more were enjoying their garden in this heatwave and have only subsequently watched on iplayer- everyone loves it!!!!

  • Comment number 96.

    I keep saying this but again, thanks for all the positive feedback. I haven't had such a great reaction to a show since Cold Feet. Unfortunately only 3.3 million people watched Reunited, which is disappointing by BBC1 standards. But, you know, the pilot of Cold Feet didn't do well and nearly wasn't commissioned as a series. Had Cold Feet had no further life than the pilot no one would have missed it. But with hindsight we know what they would have missed! We don't have any news on the fate of Reunited yet; I'll keep you posted...

  • Comment number 97.

    Brilliant!!!!!! Best ive seen for a long time!!!!!!!Looking forward to more.

  • Comment number 98.

    Brilliant, absolutely loved it! Ed Byrne was the star of the show. Really hope there will be a series to follow

  • Comment number 99.

    At the risk of repeating previous comments.... I loved it! I was really disappointed to find out it was a pilot - I was looking forward to the next episode! Please make some more!

  • Comment number 100.

    Thoroughly enjoyable pilot and I am very keen to find out what happens next, so please let us have a series. There is a dearth of intelligent drama on the TV now, and fills a much needed gap. I thought that the writing was incisive and witty and look forward to finding out more about the characters and their lives.
    Well done!


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