Believe it or not Peter Kay’s last full comedy series was 2004’s Phoenix Night’s spin-off Max & Paddy’s Road to Nowhere. Since then the loved comedian has broken records with a stand up tour, and released records under the guise of reality show winner Geraldine McQueen. His newest venture is a return to sitcom. Car Share which, for reasons I’m not entirely clear on is getting an airing on the iPlayer before starting on BBC One on Wednesday, might be my favourite new BBC comedy for a long time.
The premise is simple: Kay stars as John Redmond alongside newcomer Sian Gibson as work colleague Kayleigh Kitson. The pair have been thrown together as their company tries out a car share scheme. At first it would appear they have little in common and the journey to and from work could be an awkward one, but as the series progresses they find humour in each other’s lives and slowly look forward to their commute. Kay has co-written and directed the six-part comedy and the car serves as the perfect backdrop for the observational comedy he’s known for. In the same vein as The Royle Family, Early Doors and Rob Brydon’s Marion and Geoff, the bulk of the scenes here take place during the commute with just the two characters talking back and forth. This is the sort of comedy I’ve always gravitated towards. Dialogue based comedy has always made me laugh, it’s far cleverer than other shows that rely on physical comedy, OTT characters or coarse language to get their laughs (I’m looking at you Mrs. Brown!) Kay and Gibson have a wonderful chemistry that gives their characters and the show in general an instant believability. As an audience member you feel like a third passenger on the journey, and the comedy has a wonderfully warm quality to it. This isn’t the spiteful comedy we’ve become too accustomed to of late. It’s not dark, it’s not mocking anyone, it’s genuine and real.
I’m uncertain whether giving first dibs to those who want to seek out online is a good idea or not, but I saying that I watched all three episodes that were available for us to preview and I’m very keen to see the rest. This is the sort of comedy that should suit everyone. With references that most will be able to relate to. There’s also the constant accompaniment of spoof local radio station ‘Forever FM’ which sounds worryingly familiar. In between the conversations about dogging, favourite albums (his being Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, her’s being Now 48) there are some real poignant moments as they two open up to one another and grow closer. I honestly can’t praise this enough and just hope it gets the ratings and plaudits it is so deserving of. I’ll happily stay in the car with them for as long as I can.
Car Share is available on BBC iPlayer tonight from 9pm and starts Wednesday at 9.30pm on BBC One.