Picks and Pans Review: Masterpiece Theatre: Sorrell and Son

updated 12/14/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/14/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

PBS (Sun., Dec. 13, 9 p.m. ET)

C+

Once again PBS presumes that we supposedly classless Yanks should care about Britain's never-ending struggle with its class system. This time, in a five-part mini based on the Warwick Deeping novel, it's the story of a WW I hero (Richard Pasco) who has to raise his son (Peter Chelsom) when his wife deserts them. Dad's so desperate for work he becomes a hotel porter—a lowly post in British society, so lowly that father and son try to hide the truth. But the truth does come out at the son's snooty boarding school, and the kid is forced to leave in shame. Get that: A boy is kicked out of school just because his father has an un-haughty job. No wonder we rebelled against the Brits. Good thing we won. So Sorrell is sociologically offensive. And it's slow. And it subjects us to one of the longest death scenes in history. But the show does boast some utterly charming performances from Pasco, Chelsom and Sarah Neville as a cheeky woman who thinks she can have a career instead of a family. When all else fails them, the Brits do have their charm.

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