Talking Heads (1987– )
8.7/10
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A Chip in the Sugar 

Mild, middle-aged Graham Whittaker (who we learn is a repressed homosexual with a history of mild mental health problems) finds life becoming complicated as his mother, with whom he still ... See full summary »

Director:

Stuart Burge

Writer:

Alan Bennett (by)

Star:

Alan Bennett
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Alan Bennett ... Graham Whittaker
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Storyline

Mild, middle-aged Graham Whittaker (who we learn is a repressed homosexual with a history of mild mental health problems) finds life becoming complicated as his mother, with whom he still lives, reunites with an old flame named Frank Turnbull. Graham becomes increasingly jealous when Mr Turnbull takes an ever-growing hold on Mam, especially when Frank proposes marriage while simultaneously suggesting Graham moves out of the house to a hostel. But Mr Turnbull is hiding a secret, and when Graham finds out he triumphantly confronts his mother with the information, restoring the status quo and his comfortable life but destroying her hopes of happiness in the process. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 April 1988 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
A wry, tender and very funny monologue
20 February 2012 | by roger-pettit1See all my reviews

Alan Bennett has been a chronicler of a particular slice of British life - usually that of lower middle class provincial northern England - for many years. His work is humorous, perceptive and, when all is said and done, kindly. His characters are usually those who are the victims of life's vicissitudes: people who, because of their shyness, their lack of inter-personal skills or their indifference, have been unable to forge successful personal relationships.

A Chip in the Sugar, which is the first of a series of comic monologues under the overarching title of Talking Heads, bears all the Bennett hallmarks of tenderness, comedy and acutely accurate social observation. It features Graham (played by Bennett himself), a thirty something young man who has mental health problems and who lives with his elderly and disabled mother. There are other issues in Graham's life (one such being his homosexuality, which is merely hinted at). He and his mother are dependent on each other in all sorts of ways. Graham's monologue - delivered to camera in a series of scenes with only the most rudimentary of backdrops - primarily concerns the impact that a chance meeting with an old flame of his mother's has on their relationship. (The title of the programme derives from one of those things by which Graham and his mother set great store when judging the classiness or otherwise of any cafe they visit. A chip in the sugar bowl is, for them, a sure sign of an inferior establishment!)

A Chip in the Sugar is subtle, witty and very clever. Like much of Bennett's work, its strength lies in the deadly accuracy with which it depicts and dissects the small poignancies and the pathos that are present in all our lives. It is excellent television. 9/10.


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