In a recent article I bemoaned returning comedies, but without wishing to step all over my well made points I think Catherine Tate has managed to do it successfully. In her one-off resurrection of foul mouthed Joanie Taylor Tate has breathed new life into the character. She was always my favourite of Tate’s creations and perhaps the only one with legs to carry her own half hour comedy. I can honestly say I laughed aloud here a lot more than I have in the BBC’s latest comedy attempts. The pairing of Taylor and young Alice from ‘The Young and Old Buddy up Foundation’ was believable and the two bounced off of one another brilliantly.
What was interesting here is that it didn’t feel half hour long sketch, it moved along nicely and felt like a proper sitcom. The plot that saw Nan getting on the wrong side of her local council, doing community service and coping with her new neighbours meant there was pliantly of room for jokes, most at the expense of other characters and poor Alice. Perhaps I’m loosing it but I thought it had quite a warm feel to it. I liked the relationship that developed between Nan and Alice (played brilliantly by Ami Metcalf) and I think we need Nan on our TV. She could easily become this generation’s Victor Meldrew, and it’s about time we had a comedy character that you could bump into on the streets (even if she’d be lovely to your face, and berate you as soon as you left.)
People unfamiliar with character may well find Nan to be crass and hard to warm to, but I think this is for people who already know the character and her tendencies. Considering she is perhaps best known for her potty mouth outbursts I was pleasantly surprised that the script didn’t rely too heavily on Nan pulling out her favourite four letter word. Perhaps dressing in the burka was a predictable low point but for the most part I think there was plenty here for new viewers to enjoy.
The idea behind this episode was to see how the viewers reacted to the character outside the safety of her flat. To see if we enjoyed this enough to commission to a full series and let me be the first to say I’d love to see more. People who read the comedy reviews regularly will know I’m not the biggest fan of modern comedy output, so I found it refreshing to genuinely laugh along with the chirpy studio audience and, most importantly, to find a comedy funny! More please!