Prime time for the midlife crisis
Written by Fiona Sturges in Financial Times on June 29th, 2023
Into the woods … Susan Lynch, Bridget Christie and Sonny Charlton in The Change. Photograph: Channel 4
In the new Channel 4 comedy series The Change, Bridget Christie’s Linda has just turned 50.
She recently had a birthday party — for which she had to bake her own cake — during which her husband, played by Omid Djalili, passed the time throwing sausages in the air and catching them in his mouth. Meanwhile, her joints ache, her ears ring with tinnitus and she keeps forgetting words: all symptoms, she discovers, of the menopause. So Linda makes a decision: she will cash in the hours she has spent doing thankless chores at home and carve out some time for herself. Dusting off her old Triumph motorbike, she takes off to the Forest of Dean, where she meets an array of eccentrics and successfully shakes off her identity as a wife, mother and office drone.
The Change is unusual for all sorts of reasons: its starry cameos (Monica Dolan, Susan Lynch, Paul Whitehouse, Jerome Flynn); its deft handling of issues around gender fluidity and fertility; its seam of old English mysticism. But rarest of all is its focus on a woman struggling in her middle years. This might seem strange, given how the male midlife crisis has proved endlessly fascinating to TV writers (see: Breaking Bad, Lucky Hank, Man Down, Detectorists, Frasier, Men of a Certain Age, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and more).