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Tucked away at 12.30pm on a Friday afternoon was the ninth of ten plays in BBC Education's series Scene. Dear Life was set in a rundown hospital which, by inference, is discovered to be set around the year 2018. Eighteen years before, a baby boy was the sole survivor of a chemical plant disaster, but because his immune system was damaged in the accident, Tuscan has only ever known life in a sterile plastic bubble. Each day is a familiar routine of injections and observations, while in the outside world pollution and authoritarian rule increase. Into Tuscan's small world comes a pretty young auxiliary nurse called Rosa, who under the watchful gaze of the security cameras begins to fall in love with Tuscan, though for him to leave the bubble would mean certain death.

Tom Georgeson, better known for his role as Detective Inspector Harry Naylor in the BBC's excellent police drama Between The Lines, played lab director Doctor Myles. He and his assistant Audrey are as trapped as Tuscan; Myles by his failure to find a cure, and Audrey by her devotion to Tuscan. With funding due to be suspended, Myles hopes a book about Tuscan will feather his retirement, and it seems he only hired Rosa to manipulate Tuscan's emotions and furnish material for a chapter. But in a not-unexpected ending Rosa discovers that he really has Tuscan's welfare at heart.

Dear Life need not have been set in the future to tell its story. Orwellian touches, such as signs ordering all information to be transferred daily to central records, and radio reports that identity cards are mandatory, is hardly imaginative stuff. Generally however, the science fiction elements were underplayed, with the result that viewers' imaginations supply a suitable sense of future angst.

Though it had a rather obvious conclusion and was technically produced for a younger audience, Dear Life could easily have been shown later in the day. This was not simply due to its strong language, but because the dialogue and acting were so good, with an especially praiseworthy performance from Jamie Hinde. It was repeated a year later in the same programme slot.



Tuscan Jamie Hinde   Audrey Gemma Jones
Rosa Indra Ové   Myles Tom Georgeson
Duty Officer John Darling


Writer: Sue Glover
Series Producer: Cas Lester
Executive Producer: Richard Langridge
Producer: Cas Lester
Director: Jane Howell

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