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Go Now (1995)

Courtesy of BBC

Main image of Go Now (1995)
For Love Bites, BBC1, tx. 16/9/1995
81 minutes, colour
DirectorMichael Winterbottom
ScreenplayPaul Henry Powell
 Jimmy McGovern
Production CompanyRevolution Films for BBC
ProducerAndrew Eaton

Cast: Robert Carlyle (Nick Cameron); Juliet Aubrey (Karen); James Nesbitt (Tony); Sophie Okonedo (Paula); Darren Tighe (Dell)

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Builder and amateur footballer Nick meets and falls in love with waitress Karen. But their idyllic love affair is undermined by Nick's sudden and unexplained illness.

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A poignant, touching tale of a young man afflicted by Multiple Sclerosis, Go Now suffers little of the sentimentality which often overwhelms television dramas dealing with illness and disability - which writer Jimmy McGovern contemptuously describes as 'wheelchair plays'. This, and the unusually authentic feel, owes much to the fact that McGovern's co-writer, newcomer Paul Henry Powell, is himself a sufferer of MS, and based the drama on his own experiences.

Broadcast in the same short series of contemporary love stories that produced the controversial ecstacy romance Loved Up (BBC, tx. 23/9/1995), the drama takes time to build up the romance between builder and amateur footballer Nick and hotel administrator Karen before charting Nick's descent into illness. The early scenes establish Nick as a man defined by his physical activity - in his sport, his job and his sexuality - which makes his physical deterioration all the more difficult for him to accept.

The writers and director Michael Winterbottom (who, like star Robert Carlyle, had previously worked with McGovern on Cracker (ITV, 1993-95)), largely provided by Nick's salt-of-the-earth mates, including the then little-known, pre-Cold Feet (ITV, 1998-2001) James Nesbitt as best mate Tony. But the drama's greatest strength is the immensely sympathetic playing of Carlyle and Aubrey, at its best in the powerful, moving - and devestatingly romantic - climactic scene, in which Nick, with a mixture of pride and self-sacrifice, attempts to persuade Karen to leave, only for her to remain stubbornly in the rain outside their flat until he finally relents.

Powell and McGovern shared the Royal Television Society's Best Writer award in 1996.

Mark Duguid

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Video Clips
1. First sign (1:43)
2. A discovery (3:14)
5. 'I'm staying' (5:20)
Loved Up (1995)
Carlyle, Robert (1961-)
McGovern, Jimmy (1949-)
Okonedo, Sophie (1968-)
Winterbottom, Michael (1961-)
The Television Play