25/09/2012 06:48 BST

TV REVIEW: Leaving - Or Is She? Helen McRory, Callum Turner Star In May-December Romance

Once lovestruck Julie (Helen McRory) and Aaron (Callum Turner) were caught in an unseemly encounter in the dining room, with her furious husband raging over their affair, it was always a case of not if, but how, their romance would come to a bittersweet end.


Julie (Helen McRory) has to make a decision - to stay or to go?

From the moment of discovery, all bets were off as both were forced to make sacrifices to be together – Julie her family, job and dignity, and Aaron his strangely blossoming career, all under the bulging eyeball of their suddenly interestingly vindictive boss.

The whole story became a lot more interesting, and Julie and Aaron’s coupling more believable, once they were on this more equal footing, and I found myself wishing we’d encountered them for the first time this week, with the infeasibilities of the previous two episodes behind us, and perhaps only hinted at in the narrative.

There were several scenes where romance, candles on tables, kisses on street corners, all seemed to be winning in the battle against duty, responsibility, society, lack of allies (her friend Angela didn’t last very long after a few sleepless nights with those two next door) and practicalities – even when it meant both of them apparently kicking their careers to the kerb – but passion of this ilk couldn’t ultimately beat an even deeper love, a mother for her children, so it wasn’t long before Julie was once again back at the dinner table, with Mr Cheekbones left kicking a stone outside.


Aaron (Callum Turner) wasn't having a very good time of it, this growing-up business

Until, with a loud scraping of cutlery and a silent crash of plates, she changed her mind AGAIN and went running back to Aaron, but too late - the ultimate moral of the story being, never mind the difference in age, you can’t keep people dangling and expect them still to be there. There’s treating them mean, but…

The sweetest role for me was actually Aaron’s love-starved mother, apparently siding with her husband in his outrage, but increasingly admiring and envious of her son’s stubborn passion in the face of such unlikely odds.

Through her generous eyes, we saw this frowned-upon pair in all their defiant glory, even if tons of chemistry couldn’t rescue them from an inevitably bittersweet payoff, that couldn’t fail to move and satisfy even the most disbelieving of viewers, me included.

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Leaving - a believable romance?