Review: Love, Lies and Records

Ashley Jensen in Love, Lies, and Records

Love, Lies and Records is a British series about Kate, who works in the Leeds registry office. She has a fella and 3 kids at home,Ā  a busy work life dealing with births, deaths, and marriages, a confusing man nipping at her heels, and a troublesome coworker named Judy.

The 6 episode series started out on the BBC. Love, Lies and Records is now available on Acorn TV. Ashley Jensen has the lead role as Kate and she’s fantastic in the part. She’s funny, she’s vulnerable, she’s angry, she’s sexy, she’s fed up, she’s fighting for her job, she’s not above fudging the records to help someone in need, and she’s hanging on by a thread through it all.

Rebecca Front plays her nemesis Judy, who will do anything ā€“ anything ā€“ to be appointed supervisor of the office, even though Kate is clearly the right person for the job.

On the home front, Kate has Rob (Adrian Bower). Rob is a cop and they work together on some immigration issues involving fake marriages that raise Kate’s suspicions in the registry office. The series is partly registry office business, and partly sham marriage business involving immigration and the police.

Kate and Rob have been together for years, but he’s actually married to someone else. They have a teenage daughter Lucy (Lily Mae), who drives them crazy. They also have a son and Rob’s son from his wife.

The crew from the Registry Office
The Registry Office crew includes Rochenda Sandall as Anna, Kenny Doughty as Rick, Rebecca Front as Judy, Ashley Jensen as Kate, Mark Stanley as James/Jamie, and Mandip Gill as Talia.

Mark Stanley’s character James announces in the first episode that he’ll be coming to work dressed as a woman starting Monday. Jamie is the new name. Jamie ends up on Kate’s couch in her already crowded house. Jamie’s wife threw her out and wouldn’t let her see their two boys.

The struggle James/Jamie goes through with gender identity is the most interesting subplot of the season. It’s handled delicately and with love. There are other subplots among office members. The clients that come through the registry office bring their own brief stories about dying partners, lost children, same sex marriages, and plenty of sham marriages for the extension of visas.

Then there’s Rick from the office. He has the hots for Kate. She gave in to him once at the Christmas party when they’d been drinking. Now there’s video of them shagging in the strong room of the office. And Kate’s rival Judy is not afraid to use that video to get the supervisor’s job for herself. There are also photos of Kate and Rick laughing together that Rick’s girlfriend sent round because she had a private detective following him.

The relationship between Rick and Kate gets more and more fraught as the season wears on. Rick’s 100% clear about wanting to be with her.

Kate’s terrified that Rob will see the video and the photos. The measures and countermeasures she takes to protect her relationship with Rob add to her stress level, which is already sky high.

Kate decides to marry Rob. He gets his divorce taken care of. But Kate is conflicted about Rick. She is attracted to him. She doesn’t want to break up her family. Rick is a problem. Every wedding Kate officiates sends her into a spin. All those words about love, all those solemn vows. They seem tailor made for her own situation with every wedding she officiates.

The wedding to Rob falls though. With Kate torn between two men and not knowing her own mind in the matter, it keeps the audience guessing until the last moment.

Kate is a complicated woman. At work she’s kind and empathetic. At home she’s a tough love mom. Rick’s constant attention and the tensions with Rob over their home life have her wavering. She’s smart and good at her job. Yet she’ll lie straight-faced when she’s done something she doesn’t want anyone to know about.

Kate’s life felt real to me. Arguments at home over confiscated telephones from teens, kids who want new shoes, kids who want a dog, too many people living in the house, and tension between Kate and Rob all rang true. In many ways Kate is Everywoman, struggling to keep up with work and family in the modern world.

A big thank you to whoever decided that the citizens of Leeds, which is in West Yorkshire, use an accessible English accent. The Yorkshire accent fans have to decipher in series penned by Sally Wainwright can make an American scurry to the dictionary far too often. The characters in Love, Lies and Records speak in ways even an American can “hear.”

Every episode was written by Kay Mellor, who created Love, Lies and Records. Cilla Ware directed one episode, with Dominic Leclerc directing the others. I’d love another series about Kate and her exploits. She’s a fantastic character. Series 1 ended on a note that left room for more time with Kate. However, I haven’t been able to find any information about whether there will be a second series.

16 thoughts on “Review: Love, Lies and Records”

    1. There was a lot left up in the air at the end of season 1 that could move us on. And all the characters in the registry office have stories. It definitely has material enough for more seasons.

  1. Please have a series 2. Series 1 episode 6 was left up in the air – what happened? I went looking for episode 7 but there were only 6 episodes.

  2. Ashley Jensen. Such a fine character actress! Loved her in Agatha Raisin & again in Love, lies and records! Hope she returns in both series. She is a national treasure! šŸ™‚

  3. Had it recorded and only just finished watching it. I think pathos, sentimentality and workplace intrigues are ladled on a bit much in this show, but it was fun to be soaped while it lasted. Fine cast, with Jensen in the lead, but they all shine a little or a lot here and there.

    There has to be a second series, or at least a wrap-up of the first.

  4. Florence Seargent

    I just watched the first episode and I am loving this series! Iā€™m American, and British TV in many ways is superior to ours. This series is about life, and all that it entails! Please renew this for more series!

  5. Torben Retboll

    This series is quite good. I like it. I did not know about it before I saw your review. Thanks for letting me and others know about it.

  6. Pingback: So Many Great Foreign Films and TV in English - Old Ain't Dead

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