Love Soup. Image shows from L to R: Milly Russell (Montserrat Lombard), Cleo Martin (Sheridan Smith), Alice Chenery (Tamsin Greig). Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.

Love Soup

Romantic comedy drama starring Tamsin Greig as Alice Chenery, a woman trying to find her true love

Comedy Drama
2005 - 2008  (BBC One)
18 (2 series)
Tamsin Greig, Sheridan Smith, Montserrat Lombard, Michael Landes, Trudie Styler, Brian Protheroe, Owen Brenman, Mark Heap, Amelia Curtis
David Renwick
British Broadcasting Corporation

Written by One Foot in the Grave creator David Renwick, Love Soup stars Tamsin Greig as Alice Chenery, a modern woman with old fashioned values. The first series also starred Michael Landes as American comedy writer Gil Raymond. Alice and Gil would make the perfect couple. The only problem is that they are completely unaware of each other's existence.

Alice works as the manageress of a perfume company concession in a London department store. Her co-workers, Cleo Martin (Sheridan Smith) and Milly Russel (Montserrat Lombard), try and help Alice find a man... well, that is when they are not too busy having problems with their own relationships.

Gil arrives in England to discover his girlfriend is having an affair before they even land in the country. Now single, Gil worries about the advances of his next-door neighbour Irene Andrews (Trudie Styler).

SPOILER: Just when it looked to viewers like Alice was finally going to meet Gil (via a personal ad in a newspaper), she learns from his boss, Lloyd Drewitt (Owen Brenman), that the American has died of a heart attack. Alice's attentions are then taken over by British comedy writer, and Gil's friend, Douglas McVitie (Mark Heap). Although Alice can sense that the relationship is not entirely working, she sticks with it.

Our Review: An interesting concept. In the first series, the programme flipped between the two storylines, with Alice and Gil only appearing in the one scene together, but even then they do not spot each other.

The second series had difficulties as Michael Landes, who played such a key role in the first series, left the show. Alice and Gil were clearly solemates, so his character could not simply be replaced with another.

Heap's introduction into the second series did bring a new dynamic, as it was then possible to show Alice in a stable relationship, but this wasn't nearly as captivating as the will-they, won't-they question that was hanging over Alice/Gil in the first series.

One thing the second series did having going for it was that the episodes were cut from an hour in length to half-an-hour; this ushered in a slightly stronger 'sitcom' element for the show.