There are three things in this world that will keep me out of the boozer on a Thursday night. One is a glaring look from the missus, another is bronchial pneumonia and the third is a new series from Alan Bleasdale. And the master's new six-parter, Jake's Progress, is superb.
Robert Lindsay is his usual terrific self as down-on-his-luck 60s pop star Jamie Diadoni. And Julie Walters, who played his long-suffering wife, Julie, is equally excellent.
As usual, Bleasdale's script was first class and I loved the scene where Lindsay had cooked lasagne for his in-laws. After putting the dish down on the table he told his mother-in-law he had something special for afters – "a f*****g great boa constrictor!"
But the star of the show has got to be six-year-old son, Jake (Barclay Wright). He makes Damien from The Omen look like a choirboy, but at times, he was rather endearing. The scene where he caught dad having oral sex with mum was hilarious. "What yer doin', Dad?" asked Jake. "Looking for my contact lens!" was the reply.
A truly brilliant performance from a terrific cast and I can't wait for the remaining five episodes.