What is it?
The Beeb’s family drama about townies making a go of things (or not) in rural Devon, back for its fifth series.
What to say if you liked it
An entertaining yet thoughtful piece that doesn’t gloss over the drawbacks of rural living, especially for the younger generation.
What to say if you didn’t like it
A Daily Mail reader’s fantasy, full of affordable idyllic properties and welcoming locals eager for low-waged domestic work.
What was good about it?
• Ricky Tomlinson (Royle Family) and Denise Welch (Coronation St) have taken over as the main characters, so it’s funnier and not (quite) as soft-centred as earlier series.
• The previous series’ would-be organic farmers Frankie and Matt (Angela Griffin and Ian Kelsey) were written out . Having their rural dream turn to ashes, leaving them penniless and broken, was a rare concession to reality since that’s what actually happens to most townies who venture into the sticks.
• This week’s episode included a grasping, conniving farmer and his thuggish son – another tilt towards reality since (cover your eyes, Mail readers) the real country actually contains some nasty people as well as all the nice ones in this show and The Vicar of Dibley.
• The replacement children – niece and nephew of Jackie (Welch) – are uglier than the old ones, who were all absurdly Hollyoaks-glamorous. Anymore realistic than this and it’ll be turning into a Mike Leigh play.
• But they’ve kept Jackie’s pretty daughter Emma (Zara Dawson). We like her.
What was bad about it?
• It actually features married couples with children (i.e. families), which shows what an uncompromising, hard-core family show this is. We’re still recovering from the shock of seeing people behaving in this manner.
• The new tenant of the pub looks like he’s come straight from Hollyoaks (as does next week’s new arrival, a glamorous female vet), so the reality thing has bitten too hard after all.
• Along with Frankie and Matt, it’s also lost the great Ram John Holder as Frankie’s boat-dwelling grandad, who brought a much-needed touch of bohemia to this determinedly Middle England show.
• Next week’s episode includes a dead sheep, a heart-rending adoption story and a horse with no balls. You have been warned.