I MUST be dead inside. Mentally broken – although not so far gone that I’d merit a role in Broken (BBC1, Tuesday) because I was able to sit through Tuesday’s finale of this weepy, self-righteous drama feeling nothing but incredulity and irritation.

I say I must be broken because, judging by the tweets and the reviews, everyone else adored this show and spent Tuesday evening sobbing. Not me. I was dry-eyed.

If I felt a flicker of emotion, it was sympathy for Sean Bean because he gave a brilliant performance as the struggling priest, Father Michael, managing to be simultaneously gruff and tender. He’ll probably get bucket-loads of awards for it and so he’ll always have this soppy drama dragging at his heels and clinging to his reputation.

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Broken was messy and chaotic, and it turned its cast into weak victims who were forever being pummelled by nasty old society and never had the spark, courage, intelligence or backbone to pull themselves into something better.

No, the underclass in this drama just weep, shuffle and moan. Sometimes they commit suicide. Sometimes they smash up the local bookies. Sometimes they get shot and sometimes they stuff their dead mothers under the bed.

At no point does anyone get a job or an education or a shred of luck and slowly pull their life out of the gutter. That would be realistic, not “dramatic”. Far better to show us corpses and broken glass.

And yet, critics say Jimmy McGovern writes social realism. This wasn’t realism; it was a writer gathering up his grievances and lashing out wildly; so wildly, in fact, that he had no precision and so hit not a single target.

Will the script examine the danger of fixed-odds betting machines? Nah, it just shows a mad bird (Lauren Lyle) smashing them up with a mallet. And then add a bit of absurd comedy by having the police restrain her in the ruined betting shop before she leaps up to resume her attack. “She’s at it again!” the staff cry. More mallets. More broken glass. Talk about labouring the point.

The message was that these machines ruin lives because poor people are too stupid, depressed or weak-willed to resist them. Father Michael calls for “righteous anger” and says they’re a “capitalist’s dream”. At no point were we prompted to think: “Maybe you should spend your benefit money on food and not in the bookies?”

No doubt that would seem harsh and right-wing to some, but it’s also common sense. However there was no room for common sense amid this sea of tears, emotion, and “righteous anger”. The lukewarm sea washes away reason and takes with it the idea that the poor are being insulted by being portrayed as zombies who stumble perpetually from the benefits office to the bookies, stopping only to be shot by the nasty, fascist police. Jimmy McGovern is clearly an angry writer, and TV desperately needs angry, realistic drama instead of yet more cop shows and love stories, but the anger here was diluted by sentimentality and by the maddening Corbynista view that no-one need take personal responsibility for their lives because it’s all someone else’s fault.

I grew up in a single-parent household, on benefits, with a perpetually depressed mother who rarely opened the curtains or changed out of her baggy pyjamas, but we never resorted to the emotional circus tricks on show in McGovern’s silly drama. So, as far as my experience goes, that was not a realistic portrayal of the poor or disadvantaged.

MAYBE Life Behind Bars: Visiting Hour (C4, Tuesday) could offer a dose of badly-needed realism?

This documentary observed people as they visited their husbands, brothers and sons in jail, and even though it’s painfully obvious the people knew they were being watched – with their awkward little glances around the room, where cameras and people with clipboards surely stand – it was still quite enlightening. With the first episode filmed in the visiting room of Low Moss Prison, just outside Glasgow, I expected to see lots of wee bams and neds. Instead, we saw a social and geographical mix of prisoners. There was a very eloquent man from Cornwall who spoke about the Bible and forgiveness with his gentlemanly old father. They could have been two educated chaps out for a sedate lunch if it hadn’t been for the junk food spread out on their table and the fact the son had been locked up for trying to kill his wife.

Then we had Gary, a Mancunian who struggles with “all the different Scottish languages”. His daughters and grandchildren crowded in to see him, and they all had a good giggle, drinking Cokes and eating Mars Bars. Gary was not a menacing convict; he just seemed like a sad old waster.

David was the archetypal “wee ned” I expected to see.

His mum and brother turned up to warn him he’d better change his ways, but there was no great revelation here.

David couldn’t understand why his anti-social behaviour was aggravating the neighbours and putting his mum’s tenancy at risk (“F**k them” was his response to the neighbour’s complaints) so we got the depressing sense that David would be released to his exhausted “maw”

and would soon kick off again, and end up straight back in jail, a burden on his family, the community and the state.

There were no great upsets or insights. There were just sad lives ticking on and on and on. Had Jimmy McGovern directed this, he’d have insisted on high drama and tears.

Instead we just had weary-looking people eating junk food round shoogly tables and trying to make the best of a terrible situation. I think we call that reality.