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Son set to shatter dreams

Plans put on hold in new comedy writes Andrew Stone

Trying to turn the clock back is seldom without difficulties

WIDOWER Phil has a dream for his future in BBC One’s new sitcom Hold the Sunset. He wants to marry his neighbour and long-time friend, widow Edith. Once married, they will sell their houses and emigrate to buy a place in the sun.

It’s a plan Phil (John Cleese) has harboured for a long time. However, despite a humdrum existence in which battling to understand the changes to the local authority’s recycling programme is a major part of her day, Edith (Alison Steadman) has never been sure that it’s a good idea – until now.

In the first episode Edith said ‘yes’ to Phil’s proposal and a new life seemed just round the corner. That was until Edith’s 50-year-old son Roger (Jason Watkins) knocked on his mother’s front door. He had left his wife, children and well-paid job at the bank and to move back home.

Phil and Edith have had to put on hold thoughts of watching the sun set over a foreign horizon. They need first to work out how to reconcile Roger to his former life. But Roger wants only to return to his boyhood days, where his mum will do his washing and cooking while he plays with his old toys and reverts to a carefree life.

Tomorrow (Sunday 25 February), Roger looks to conjure up another element of his past as he tracks down Queenie (Anne Reid), the family’s old cleaner, for Edith’s 70th birthday party. But it’s far from certain that his mum will be delighted with that particular trip down memory lane.

Trying to turn the clock back is seldom without difficulties, but that doesn’t stop many people doing it. In Hold the Sunset, even Phil and Edith’s plan is rooted in the past, as the couple were childhood sweethearts who ended up marrying other people.

When life hasn’t turned out t struggle, our minds can wander back to what we remember as happier times, when it seemed easier and the future was a vision of hope.

But returning to the past is not possible. We are not the same people as we were then, experiences have changed us and the people and situations we recall will also have moved on. We need to find another way to look to the future with a sense of hope and optimism.

For centuries Christians have found that they have been able to do that by putting their confidence and faith in Jesus Christ. As one Bible writer commented: ‘Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten and everything is new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 Contemporary English Version).

It is possible to look to the future with hope. If we trust him, Jesus will direct us into a new life and a new way of living. There’s no need to hold off putting our trust in him.

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