“Military WAGs: OH NO YOU JUST DIDN’T!” That would be the title if this were a reality TV show. But this is the world of television drama so Homefront seems a sensible, solid choice for a show exploring the lives of the wives and girlfriends of the men we have sent to fight savagery and humpery in Afghanistan. We have some of the best army training in the world to turn those men into assassins, cutthroats, bombers, men primed to run 20 miles in soft sand like Canibus in Second Round KO but who trains the wives to do their part? Cruel nature alone.
Claire (Claire Skinner who first came to prominence in Life Is Sweet with David Thewlis licking Nutella¹ off her tits. Spewlis would later go on to put his cock into Anna Friel of whom more later) is one such WAG. Posh girl Claire is starting over again with widowed Major Peter Bartham (Greg Wise) and that’s a tricky one. His nausey teenage daughter Millie (Rosie Day), is a real pain in the balls and it can’t help that Claire’s Emo kid son, Sam (Ceallach Spellman) is along for the ride probably harbouring some incestuous fantasies of his (to be fair pretty hot) stepsister.
Claire’s Emo kid son, Sam (Ceallach Spellman) is along for the ride probably harbouring some incestuous fantasies of his (to be fair pretty hot) stepsister.
It’s a wonderful relief, then, for Claire when the Major returns from Afghanistan but for others it is very bad news. Because one of the Major’s duties is to inform families of dead soldiers of their beloved’s demise and if you’re a military family and somebody in uniform knocks on your door either your pizza’s being delivered or your son’s had his chips. And the Major ain’t no effing delivery boy, you feel me?
If you’re a military family and somebody in uniform knocks on your door either your pizza’s been delivered or your son’s had his chips. And the Major ain’t no effing delivery boy.
This time around it’s Matt Raveley and his veteran father Howard (George Costigan) and veteran army wife mother Paula (Higgins) are as stoic as you can expect of people who have been preparing their whole lives for such a day. You can’t say the same for Tasha (Antonia Thomas), who first came to prominence turning all men into rapists as Alisha, girl with the world’s worst superpower, on Misfits) Matt’s boo and baby momma to their infant spawn Alfie. Tasha bawls like a motherfucker or like, say, an emotionally connected human being might. She tells Paula she can’t face the funeral and that pisses the mother right off. There’s tension from these two from the get-go and bereavement only amps it up.
Tasha is comforted by Louise (Nicola Stephenson who first came to prominence burying her pretty ginger face right into Anna Friel’s prized 19-year-old snatch on Brookside and whose subsequent career and life has understandably felt like a disappointment ever since. The same could be said of Anna Friel who has had to resign herself to a life punctuated by David Blewlis licking Nutella¹ off her tits) who, when not doing hurried and frankly lacklustre underwear dance sessions for Afghanistan-based husband Joe (Warren Brown, last seen in Good Cop playing a bad one) looks after their two daughters. Louise was an Army nurse for six months so has seen the conflict from both sides of the telescope and seems a bit more sussed than the other WAGs. Claire turns up to with a dish of gabagool ² and some sympathy for Tasha which is pretty damned civilised considering she doesn’t even know the skank. She’ll do well around here with those social skills, I can feel it.
Nicola Stephenson who first came to prominence burying her pretty ginger face right into Anna Friel’s 19-year-old prized snatch on Brookside and whose subsequent career and life has understandably felt like a disappointment ever since.
But then comes the question of what happens when you put a professional killer to rest. Paula’s other soldier son Tom returns from Afghanistan with Matt’s body and he is one of the uniformed pallbearers at the impressive and moving military funeral. The other wives show out in strength, to thank Christ it was him and not their man. Major Pete reads a nice tribute to Matt and his wife sobs earning the rebuke “pull yourself together” from her husband. We’ll have none of that natural healthy response here young lady.
Just as Tom is hitting his stride giving a very personal eulogy for his brother in walks Tasha down the aisle to give an impromptu and pretty corny mini story about when they met. It gets an implausible round of applause and some tall blonde scuttler tells her “You did it – you made it yours” like Louis Walsh talking to an X Factor contestant after their boilerplate cover of My Heart Will Blow On. At the wake a boozed up Tom says “it should be him in that box” about the major. Are we talking military cover-up? I think we may be and that’s no fun at all.
Because it’s a bum deal being one of the women left behind by wars, widowed either by distance or death. They say no news is good news but the only really good news you get is when they leave the forces for good because until that moment you’re always guessing and even if they do survive you’re still spending long periods alone performing inept dances in your bra and pants in front of the webcam that came with your Dell. Homefront sketches the four very different women sympathetically and hits the necessary emotional beats without ever feeling manipulative or trite. I hope we find out why Matt got blown to shit and why Louise has no decent underwear or sense of rhythm. I feel we owe it to the men and women of the armed forces to find out.
The verdict: Be careful not to confuse with Homeland when DVRing.
Marks out of 10: 7.5
¹ Other chocolate spreads are available. And they’re all better than Nutella which tastes like fucking shit.
² I have no idea this was actually gabagool I just like the idea of her being Carmela from The Sopranos.