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Need a laugh? Voilà!

It's a golden time for female-centric TV comedy. Here are Muddy's top new UK shows to discuss around the watercooler.

Sick already of Christmas ads, tricksy December calendar logistics and utter darkness by 4.30pm? I would suggest retiring to the sofa, commandeering the remote and cheering yourself up with some brilliant, female-centric comedy. There’s a lot of it around right now and hurray, I say – it’d got to the point where if I watched one more show involving women falling victim to a serial killer, I would, well, kill someone myself.

You probably don’t need me to tell you about Motherland, but in case you’ve been shacked up in a cave in recent weeks, here’s a quick recap. With a team of writers including Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) and Graham Linehan (Father Ted), it tackles the travails of frazzled working mother and school gate pariah Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) as she does things like forget it’s half term and host the world’s worst kids’ birthday party. Wincingly, brutally familiar, you’ve gotta laugh – otherwise you’d cry. It’s on BBC2, 10pm on Tuesdays but if you fancy gorging on all 6 episodes, they’re here on iPlayer.

I’ve seen a preview of episode 1 of Kay Mellor’s new register office-set comedy-drama Loves, Lies & Records, which starts this Thursday, 9pm, BBC One. It’s definitely worth a watch if you prefer working mother-based comedy of a less scabrous variety. If Motherland is a tequila slammer, this one is a warming glass of Bailey’s. Ashley Jensen (Extras, Ugly Betty) stars as Kate, a gregarious registrar whose promotion has angered her jobsworth colleague Judy, played by the ever-brilliant Rebecca Front (The Thick Of It, Alan Partridge). If you think Kate’s working world is complicated, wait until you learn about her private life.

Finally, did you see GameFace? It was hidden away on E4 but the whole series is available here and it’s one of the best things I’ve seen all year. Created, written by and starring comedian Roisin Conaty, it’s about a thirtysomething Londoner called Marcella (visually, think Amy Winehouse meets Sam Fox) who struggles to function as a grown-up. Semi-autobiographical, it’s beautifully observed and by turns hilarious and poignant, as Marcella ping-pongs between mourning her ex (who ran off to Vegas and married a girl he’d known for five days), enduring hideous temp jobs while dreaming of being an actress, and drinking all the wine, all the time. Keep an eye on Marcella’s lovely, long-suffering driving instructor – I think he might be a keeper.

Words: Kerry Potter

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