It’s been 84 years and I can still…. No wait, it just seems that long since we first met the Love Actually cast of characters in their interwoven Christmassy glory. Thirteen years, actually. Well, on Friday night, they finally returned to the screens for Comic Relief’s 10-minute special, Red Nose Day Actually. Anticipation was high — did it live up to the hype?
This is your standard spoiler warning. If you haven’t seen it yet, and you are in the UK, you can see it here. If you are in the US, the video won’t be available — you can either wait to see it on NBC on the 25th May, or you can plough ahead and enjoy me spoiling the bejesus out of it. Is that sufficient warning?
Here we go, then!
Mark, Juliet & Peter
Mark’s back to his old ‘wave some signs around’ tricks, but this time sporting his Walking Dead hair and beard, which are gently mocked through the clip. I miss clean-shaven Andrew Lincoln. So do Juliet and Peter apparently. Even Mark’s new wife - KATE MOSS! - isn’t a fan. It’s also made clear that either Juliet told Peter about the last sign-waving incident, or he was eavesdropping the entire time. That schtick isn’t fooling anyone, Mark.
But where has he been for 13 years? Did he go off on an Eat, Pray, Love adventure to find himself? He was the best man at Peter’s wedding — how come Peter and Juliet don’t know that he got married? Isn’t that rude? And does Juliet still love banoffee pie? TOO MANY QUESTIONS.
Rating: an initial cringe followed by troubled questioning
David & Natalie
HIGHLIGHT 1: David’s ‘dad dancing’ to ‘Hotline Bling’. Not sure it needed more slapstick with falling down the stairs, but this was fun. I will happily confess to finding it funny when people fall down the stairs, so long as they don’t, you know, actually hurt themselves. I’m childish, not a monster …
David hasn’t been in power this whole time — he’s just been re-elected after a 5 year break. And he’s married to Natalie, hooray!
Rating: an audible laugh and a warmed heart
Billy’s back at Radio Watford, half-heartedly plugging his new charity single, “Gimme all your money”, and his ‘autobiography’, which of course, he hasn’t read. This time he’s claiming to have slept with one of the Kardashians… But damn it Curtis, why did you have to make it sad with the news of Joe’s death?
Rating: a giggle then a sad face
Jamie and Aurelia
Jamie still loves his turtleneck jumpers and can’t speak Portuguese. Aurelia makes a lovely speech that goes right over his head. There are cute kids — and another one the way, though this may still be news for Jamie… This felt rather flat, but I will give them points for cuteness.
Rating: a nostalgic awww and a continued appreciation for men in jumpers
Rufus & his beloved gift-wrap
HIGHLIGHT 2: Yeah, we knew exactly what was going to happen, but who cares? I want Rowan Atkinson to gift-wrap all of my presents from now on. This time, he’s slowing down the day of a young’un, who valiantly plays Alan Rickman’s role of the bemused and irritated customer. But now he’s also creating comically long queues. Rufus, you might not be efficient, but you are adorable. I applaud someone who takes such pride in their work. In a country where a plastic bag costs 5p, that free gift-wrap really does give us hope. Wrap on, Rufus. Wrap on.
Rating: chuckles of love and some heart-hands
Daniel, Sam & Joanna
Sam’s all grown up - he’s got ridiculously sparse (yet surprisingly fluffy) facial hair to prove it. He’s been in America, and has had some love problems AND WE KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING… Yep, here comes Joanna, all grown up, but thankfully without facial hair. And what’s this? She’s asking Sam’s step-dad for permission to marry Sam? How very modern. And HANG ON A MINUTE, YOU’RE 12 AND YOU’VE KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR 5 MINUTES, WHY ARE YOU GETTING ENGAGED?
Cough. Sorry about that.
Rating: looking puzzled, feeling old
Hooray, David’s back again, and he’s doing a press conference. No smarmy US President to stand up to this time, (DAMN IT, CURTIS!), but instead some more wish-fulfilment for the audience. Honest answers to questions! A sense of humour! And then, HIGHPOINT 3: that speech. It couldn’t have come at a better time. David, can you become our Prime Minister for realsies?
Rating: some giggling with perhaps a little tear (but it had been a long week, so don’t judge)
Who was missing?
“8 is a lot of legs, David”, but 10 isn’t a lot of minutes. Notable absences include Colin, John, Just Judy, Sarah, Hot Karl, Evil Sex Robot Mia, 1st Lobster and Third-Wheel Octopus. The comma is still missing. The most painful absences were Karen and Harry — both for Alan Rickman reasons. Ah, Rickman. We miss you, always. Even if you did make Emma Thompson cry.
Bye for now then, Actually cast - until Christmas, anyway.