I wasn’t sure whether including ‘That Day We Sang‘ as a film was allowed, but as it’s my blog, I figured I can make the rules! To be fair, it was promoted as a ‘TV movie’ and has earned a place in the International Movie Database (IMDb) so I think I’m safe.
Written by renowned comic Victoria Wood, this musical film is an adaptation of Woods’ stage play. It tells the story of ‘Tubby’ Baker (Michael Ball) and Enid (Imelda Staunton) who are reunited in 1969 by a TV programme which documents the making of a record made in 1929 by a Manchester children’s choir of which they were both a part. Now in their fifties, Enid and Tubby are both single and have the feeling that life has passed them by. Although attracted to one another, they have to overcome a number of challenges before deciding to take a chance on love.
Ball and Staunton have worked on a number of projects, including co-hosting the Olivier Awards at the Royal Opera House and starring together in the West End, in ‘Sweeney Todd – The Musical‘. Although Ball’s musical prowess is well-known, I had no idea that Staunton, immortalised in my mind as the essentially pink Dolores Umbridge, could sing. It’s a sentimental film, but the performances were exquisite. Michael Ball, unrecognisable since his Phantom/Aspects of Love days, is no less charming. His portrayal of the gentle but staid Baker, who has retained a boyish sense of innocence, was perfect. Imelda Staunton’s awakening to the possibilities of love (and fulfilling sex!) in middle age, is empowering and uplifting.
The detail within the film was fantastic – no doubt some nerd will spot anachronisms in the colour of the gutter pipes or the shape of a car headlight, but to the everyday viewer, the setting was amazing. From the handbags to the cereal packets in the cupboards, to the design of the radio and Enid’s typewriter, the pleasing whole was of authentic late 60s life.
You can still see ‘That Day We Sang’ on BBC iPlayer until 22:30 on 25 Jnuary 2015 (running time 90 mins). Give it a look – I think it will make your heart sing.