Last year I rediscovered TV having been a student without a TV licence for such a long time previously. For the most part I remembered why I hadn’t missed it. There’s plenty of trash on TV and much more which though widely revered doesn’t appeal to me.
Fortunately though, there were a few real hits which I would like to outline now. All of these shows have been renewed for new seasons (Or recently aired a new series in one case) set to broadcast this year, so now seems like the perfect time to plug them. In no particular order, here are the five shows that I am excited to see more of:
The Wrong Mans
Not being a big James Corden fan, I didn’t know how to feel about the idea of The Wrong Mans. The premise drew me in, but I still never got up the energy to actually check the show out until recently when the first series was being repeated. However, I was extremely pleased with the result. The comedy starring and created by Corden and an actor that I am a huge fan of, Matthew Baynton, is a parody of 24 – style drama shows set against the mundane background of English every day life.
Set largely in my home county of Berkshire, Baynton and Corden play two civil servants working for Bracknell county council who are dragged into a web of spies and crime. The series uses the juxtaposition of its dull setting versus the darker elements of the plot to great comedic effect similarly to Hot Fuzz whilst the hapless protagonists attempt to balance every day life. The constant silliness combined with regular plot twists and betrayal kept me coming back consistently the BBC showed series two as part of it’s Christmas line-up. The series was nominated for several BAFTAs and won awards for it’s writing so it is well worth a watch.
Another series featuring Matthew Baynton is the family – friendly Yonderland. The Sky One show is written by Baynton along with his fellow performers from the CBBC sketch show, Horrible Histories (Also excellent in my opinion); Simon Farnaby, Ben Willbond, Laurence Rickard, Martha Howe-Douglas and Jim Howick as well as a large group of puppets.
The show is based around a mother of two who is faced with the revelation that she is the chosen one of a fantasy realm linked to her kitchen cupboard by a magical portal. The show then revolves around her attempts to save this realm, known coincidentally as Yonderland, whilst attempting to balance her family life.
The series mixes copious amounts of silliness with subtle adult humour in a way that gives something for everyone and left me hungry for more. Having re-watched the series recently I was totally drawn in to the show and I look forward to exploring more later this year.
Detectorists is a quintessentially British comedy that comes courtesy of MacKenzie Crook of The Office fame who, in additon to writing and directing, stars as Andy, a metal detectorist in search of a burial ground of a Saxon king. Along with his friend Lance, the pair spend much of their time searching for treasure with their metal detectors.
The show has an incredibly sedate pace, but the characters were so engaging that I found myself unable to stop watching. The show’s plot is by no means complex or exhilarating nor is it laugh-a-minute, but the laughs that are present are genuine and come from the way the show engages the audience with relatable and oddly charming characters.
Airing on BBC 4, Detectorists has received extremely positive reviews and has been confirmed for a return later this year allowing viewers a chance to catch up with the characters that have developed so far.
Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe
The first on this list that is not a sitcom, Weekly Wipe is a show in which Charlie Brooker, a man I deeply admire for his wit and intelligence combined with a brilliantly silly mind, runs through all of each week’s events. The show covers all sorts of topics , primarily involving the news and recent television. However, the show also often has guest slots featuring other comedians, documentary – makers and many others and regularly covers topics such as video games, films and much more.
The show is a personal favourite of mine and having already started its run for this year, the current series has already begun combining reasoned insight and sardonic wit and presenting everything in a way that doesn’t come off pretentious.
Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish
Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish is a weekly stand up show in which Dave Gorman discusses a loose theme with the aid of his laptop and a projector. Two series have been shown on the UK channel Dave and a third has been commissioned. During the previous seasons each episode has followed a loose theme in which Dave Gorman argues the case for life being good…ish.
Whether discussing the concept of fun facts, the impact of coffee on tea or the correct approach to reporting on stories about dogging in the news each episode delivered on laughs. Hopefully the next series will be as good as the previous two.
So those were five British comedy shows which I’m looking forward to this year. Hopefully I’ll find even more over the coming months.