tue 09/08/2022

Keeping Faith, Series 3, BBC One review - is the drama turning to melodrama? | reviews, news & interviews

Keeping Faith, Series 3, BBC One review - is the drama turning to melodrama?

Keeping Faith, Series 3, BBC One review - is the drama turning to melodrama?

Last orders for the Carmarthenshire-based family saga

Hannah Daniel as Cerys Jones, Eve Myles as Faith Howells

After arriving with a bang in 2018, Keeping Faith (BBC One) disappointed many (though not all) of its fans with 2019’s second series. It’s had a bit of a breather before this third – and final – series, first seen in its Welsh version Un Bore Mercher on S4C last November. So, how is it shaping up?

While the ravishing Welsh scenery of Laugharne and Carmarthenshire is almost reason enough to watch the show, the story has moved on, with Faith Howells (Eve Myles) now running her own law firm, while still trying to work out divorce and child-custody arrangements with disgraced husband and ex-jailbird Evan (Bradley Freegard). Sadly, although Evan now sports a luxuriant dad-beard, it can’t disguise his weakness, fecklessness and petulance. He’s making a pig’s ear of working at his father’s law firm, and the more he keeps trying to insinuate himself back into Faith’s life, the more disgusted she becomes. Which is ironic, since they’re a married couple in real life.

Meanwhile Faith’s will-they-won’t-they relationship with Steve Baldini (Mark Lewis Jones, pictured below with Celia Imrie) continues to simmer gently. Where Evan is a sad specimen of manhood, Steve is a primitive hunter-gatherer, living in a rough-hewn shed in the woods where he repairs motorcycles and hacks up logs with an axe. Nonetheless, he’s a proud and protective father to his daughter Angie, and Faith is a sucker for his musky cave-man allure. “Their journey has been a wonderful one, and a painful one,” Jones commented in a pre-broadcast interview.

While Keeping Faith is always watchable and can boast numerous strong performances (Myles always brings her revved-up A-game, Hannah Daniel is superb as her brusque and capable legal partner Cerys Jones, and Aneirin Hughes gives a nicely-nuanced turn as Evan’s father Tom), its problem is that it has never managed to surpass the central mystery of the first series. The sudden disappearance of Evan left Faith struggling to keep her family and career together, and the inexplicable event gave the show an aura of tragedy and foreboding which exerted a powerful pull on viewers. Revelations of organised crime, murder and corruption cranked the pressure to boiling point.

Now, the show looks more like a conventional domestic drama with a side order of social concern. Aside from the Howells’ family issues, the central legal theme in this new series is the case of 14-year-old Osian (Keogh Kiernan). He has a brain tumour which will prove fatal, unless he has very hazardous surgery which is likely to leave him severely disabled. It’s an agonising dilemma to which there’s no easy answer, but Faith is rolling up her sleeves to do battle on behalf of Osian and his father’s right to decide to have the surgery. If she can’t persuade Judge Owens (a somewhat baleful Siân Phillips), she’s prepared to take the case to a higher authority.

Not that the criminal dimension has vanished altogether. Steve Baldini has found himself in hock to the unpleasant Rose Fairchild (Celia Imrie, struggling to play against type), who coerced him into carrying out a robbery which triggered unforeseen side-effects. Not only that, but it transpires that Rose and Faith have history stretching back to the day Faith was born. Is the drama going to turn into melodrama?

The more Evan tries to insinuate himself back into Faith’s life, the more disgusted she becomes


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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This series does nothing to inspire confidence in the legal profession. Clients confidential matters are discussed openly. All of the solicitors are hppy to launder money, commit blackmail and be blackmailed. As for Faith herself, she needs urgent psychiatric help ...every action brings an overreaction with hysterical outbursts in court and in. the home. Do solicitors really do cash deals and succumb to blackmail, dipping into the clients account whenever necessary? No wonder the public do not trust lawyers...what.a farce...the writer of the series should be congratulated for showing us wht a bunch of criminals hide behind such a respectable facade !!!

Modern Lady Chatterly

I am disapointed in this 3rd series . It is melodramatic , annoyingly so with Faith and her tantrums ! It's a good agonising look at how children are traumatised by nasty marital breakdowns resulting in the endless drama of continuing therapy for the next generation ..... Give me Line of Duty any day .

I have loved Keeping Faith. What a tragic but beautiful ending to Series 3.

The first series was great. Eve Myles is a great dramatist - i loved all her performances. I assumed the story would develop into an intriguing tail developing on why Evan disappeared. Was he a criminal trafficking refugees as well a loving husband and father. Was he a british undercover spy trying to catch the criminal? Why did he return? I expected all this to develop into a wonderful intrigue and I was hooked. But it didn't !!! The story of Osian was irrelevant. Eve Myles acting continued to be great. The affair with Steve was of course essential to add spice. Faith's mum turning up late could have been part of my earlier expectations but no. It just was the last thought of the writing crew. I had high expectations but I was finally disappointed. I'll continue to look out for Eve Miles as I think we are to see much more of her.

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