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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Avoidance (BBC)

"If you don't eat this chilli, I'm putting you up for adoption."

Probably not the first line to use in Parenting 101, I'll grant you, but the sentence alone gives you a flavour of Romesh Ranganathan's latest BBC project, the corporation that simply can't seem to get enough of him, written by Benjamin Green. Given the subject matter, separation and the effects it has on those featured, this is about as 'light' entertainment as you can really hope to get.

Having experienced a similar situation, I was interested to see what they did with this opportunity here, given the brevity it would no doubt imbibe into a potentially tricky subject.

Johnathan (Ranganathan) is on the cusp of an unavoidable dilemma and is not taking it well, hence the title. After being forced to move out from the family home, he moves in with his sister and her girlfriend, neither of which are too pleased about the fact. How he deals with this and sharing custody of his son is the ultimate point and this everyman, not hero nor villain, but unorganised mess in light of difficult and unfamiliar circumstances, finds every way to display his insecurities to everyone around him, including his son.

"The good thing about no self-esteem - no embarrassment."

This is inarguably both well written and realised. Considered beyond the point of a break-up and the effects it has on his relationships, it highlights those less mentioned symptoms of finding yourself alone in a world that you have suddenly realised doesn't give a toss about you one way or another.

"One minute it's all silk stockings and enthusiasm and then you're surrounded by empty Pot Noodles in a bedsit, with holes in your pants."

Yes, it's tragic at times, but nonetheless this is often frighteningly on the money. The feeling of pointlessness is often uppermost and if you remove the humour from the potential situation, then you can begin to understand why men in their forties are probably the highest suicide risks in the country. A man, out of place, with no understanding of how to find a new place, knowing that the old one has upped and left him is presented bittersweetly here and while there are laughs here, thank goodness, it is not afraid to address a serious underlying problem.

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