I can’t believe BBC3 and the writers of Lip Service have done it again, six measly episodes! The show first burst onto our screens in 2010, Harriet Braun drawing us into the complicated loves and lives of a group of lesbians living in Glasgow. I just about forgave her for getting me hooked onto the show and ending it after half a minute when I heard a second season was in production. The first season introduced us to Frankie played by Ruta Gedmitas, a ‘hop into anyone’s knickers’ girl, that seems to bed everyone because she can’t deal with the fact that her ex; Cat (Laura Fraser) has moved on. She pouts, she sulks she huffs and puffs and eventually the two are ‘blowing’ each others back out doing the ‘grown up’.
Unfortunately Cat has a missus, detective sergeant Sam Murray (Heather Peace) and spends the first half of the season flitting between the two, not knowing quite who to choose. It’s probably why she has a somewhat pained look on her face as she tries to decide who to give her heart to. In an unexpected twist Cat gets run over and her death leaves the whole crew in a bit of a tizz. Frankie wallows in tear soaked pillows, snorting and sipping through sadness and when it all gets a little too much she tries to skulk back to America without saying a word. In a dramatic farewell Tess (Fiona Button) grabs her just before she gets in the cab and we all have a bit of a weep and wave goodbye to one of the original cast members.
Thankfully Frankie left Sadie behind, Natasha O’Keefe plays a dark haired femme fatale who this season we see pursuing the affections of a magazine editor. Her coarse inability to sugar coat her words and unapologetic nature has her fired from jobs and leads her too work in an art gallery run by the wife of Lauren the woman she’s having a sordid affair with. When that relationship turns sour however there’s only one thing this scorned woman can do, raid the gallery’s safe and ride off into the sunset!
Fiona Button’s portrayal of ditsy actress Tess has been brilliant throughout both seasons. Sick of lager swigging, football loving girlfriend Fin they go their separate ways and setting her sights on her new flatmate, she begins project ‘woo Lexy’. Inviting her out on ‘non-dates’ and orchestrating romantic friend-nights in, as obvious as it was, I must admit I blushed when Sadie states the obvious: “Tess so needs to rub one out over Lexy”. Although Tess’s love life isn’t blooming, this season we see her acting career take off onstage. It’s here that we’re invited to guffaw at the antics of her and cast mate Hugh (Stuart McQuarrie) as he chases down his estranged wife. Together they scrawl over his ex’s new lover’s latest production posters, try to break into her home and hide out in Ronald the dog’s kennel in a bid to evade the police!
Interestingly in the first season Tess was acting the fool over an ex, breaking in to rescue her perfect red dress while Ed played her trusty sidekick! This season, Ed’s (James Anthony Pearson) published a book and has a girlfriend, which was hugely disappointing as his camp as Christmas acting in the first season had me really hoping he was going to come bursting out of the closet wearing a corset, tiara and singing Madonna’s Like a Virgin! Instead he falls into bed with Nora, Tess’s cast mate from the play and despite warning him that she was a “self-centered bitch” has her dangling on his arm for a little minute before seeing the light and casting her back to her shadowy depths!
Speaking of depths, poor Sam spirals out of control over the loss of Cat. Matters are made worse when she finds out that she’d been cheating on her the day she died. Peace tries to sweat through her sadness simultaneously providing eye candy as the avid jogger, I’m sure many viewers swooned whenever she came onscreen clad in lycra leggings. Knowing that two is always better than one, Braun writes Lexy (Anna Skellern) the resident doctor on the set to bump into her and hey presto they become jogging partners. Of course it couldn’t be that simple, sexy Lexy has a secret crush on Sam but keeps her distance, at first she does it because Sam’s taken and then because she didn’t want to look like a hungry hippo going after Sam just weeks after her missus had passed.
Visits to the counselor do little to ease the panic attacks Sam’s been suffering with and before you know it she’s snorting evidence and cruising bars for a more human ‘fix’. “I just want her to get rescued” I found myself pleading towards TV land. Sure enough, Lexy receives that all important call for help and like a true knightess in shining armor, she runs to the rescue. It doesn’t matter that she’s ditching Tess on her opening evening, as she takes Sam into arms and they get their lad-loving on! BBC3’s daring depiction of Glaswegian lesbian life, had me gasping, giggling and groaning in despair. I’m hoping there’s a season 3 but if there is I pray there’s more than a mere 6 installments.