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The world of Estate Agents can be a ruthless and backbiting one. There are cold-blooded people in this profession who only care about getting their sale and will callously gazump the unsuspecting buyer in order to get the highest commission they can. These people care less about what is best for their clients and unfeelingly will sell anything just to pad their pay packets. As a background for a mini-series, this could have been a truly serious drama, but ITV's "Sold" takes all this to almost over the top proportions, and turns these cruel leeches into comic figures for our enjoyment.
With a top notch cast of strange and fascinating characters, this show takes us into the newest branch of the Colubrine Estate Agents. Here we find the only truly honest and caring agent (possibly in the world), Danny (Bryan Dick) as the last remaining employee of a company that's been bought out by the huge Estate chain Colubrine's. If Danny wants to keep his job, he must prove himself to his new boss, the egotistical and devious Matt (Kris Marshall). Matt's main objective is to make sure that the owner, Mr. Colubrine (Anthony Head) continues to see him as the best man on his team. That's not easy to do when he Colubrine can show up on his web-cam unannounced at any moment. Matt's only other concern is how he'll get into the knickers of the brazen and sexy, Mel (Christina Cole), who is also his greatest threat. Into the mix come two other agents, the inept but sweet geek Jonty (Dan Johnston) and the scheming yet vivacious Phoebe (Ella Smith). Together we're given six episodes of a roller-coaster fun ride filled with more twists and turns than any good mystery novel.
This charmer of a comedy/drama series has just about everything going for it. The cast bring not only huge amounts of talent to this show, but what also seems like an unending reserve of energy that infects the audience at every turn. The script absolutely sparkles with marvelous dialogue and clever ideas to keep you guessing what will happen until the very end. The direction is just controlled enough to make sure that while some things seem to be just a bit more "out there" than might happen in real life, it never gets totally over the top to make anyone seem wholly unbelievable. Perhaps it is the character of Danny that helps to keep this show from becoming a farce. Danny is the lone warrior for fairness and caring who only wants to make sure that all his clients find not a house, but a home - something that isn't just what they can afford, but a place where they'll feel welcome and happy. And if that means that he doesn't make even one sale that week, then so be it. This is, of course, the antithesis to what Colubrine is and stands for, and that's what makes this show so nicely done.
Of course, the acting here is absolutely stellar from each and every one of the lead roles, right on down to the cameo parts. And while Kris Marshall and Bryan Dick mostly dominate the show, they never actually steal it completely making this an ensemble piece where everyone can shine. There are some lovely bits of romantic play between Mel with both Danny and Matt which allows all three characters to show different sides of their personalities. For instance, while Danny refuses to be ruthless when it comes to selling homes, he does show a nasty side when he thinks that Mel might be falling for Matt's charms. This means that Matt knows how to show a softer, kinder side of his personality despite his rough-and-tumble attitude to his job. That they all come off as very believable is certainly a credit both to their skills as actors, as it is to the director for making sure everything came out very honestly. Plus, it's these types of character subtleties that prove how well done this script is, since no one is two dimensional, despite any stereotypes and exaggerations that are included. This is equally true of the smaller parts as well as the main roles, making this a very consistently done piece as well.
As you can tell, I fell totally in love with this series. In fact, there's only one problem with "Sold" and that is it isn't (at the time of writing this review) available on DVD, nor do I see that they're doing a second season. If I thought that this was enough to remove a star from my rating, I would, but in all honesty, I just can't. So if you can catch this on TV or if ITV re-runs it, I highly recommend you watch this lovely series and can give it a full five stars.
Thanks for reading!
Davida Chazan © November 2008
The website for this show can be found at http://www.itv.com/Drama/contemporary/Sold/default.html
The IMDb entry for this show can be found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1062207/
Selling property? Ruthless estate agents competing to clinch the deal.