This Country series 2 episodes 1 & 2 review

BBC Three’s hit mockumentary sitcom about young people with nothing to do in the Cotswolds is back for a second series.

After getting released online with little fanfare towards the beginning of 2017, This Country turned out to be one of the year’s best new comedies. It managed to perfectly capture the eccentricities (and mundanities) of life in rural Britain and gave us two memorable comedy characters in Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe – played by siblings and creators of the show Daisy May and Charlie Cooper. Not to mention their unusual yet entirely believable relatives and neighbours, plus Kerry’s screeching, always off-camera mother…  

Following a scarecrow festival, a pyramid scheme and a ruthless fight over oven space, the finale of series 1 saw Kurtan consider stepping out of his comfort zone to move away and do a GNVQ. Kerry asked him, without a hint of sarcasm: “Why would you want to leave the village when we’ve got a pub and a shop?”

Series 2 begins with Kerry and Kurtan telling us how “loads has happened” since we were last with them. Of course this isn’t true, and Kurtan has evidently suppressed his ambitions of going to college. He has, however, got himself a girlfriend, but the relationship is already showing signs of wavering. Baffled by her annoyance when he casually turns off his phone for two days, Kurtan is far from boyfriend material.

Meanwhile, Kerry has been inspired by a viral video to do “random acts of kindness” for people, but isn’t getting the appreciative responses she was hoping for. She is also spending a lot more time with the village’s good-natured vicar (Paul Chahidi), who Kurtan has been avoiding ever since he decided to give college a miss. Things come to a head between Kurtan and his poor girlfriend at the vicar’s Grease cinema night, a highlight in the village’s social calendar, where everyone has dressed up apart from Kurtan because he’s never seen the film before.

Episode 2 sees a welcome return from scary Mandy (Ashley McGuire), who memorably in series 1 was on the prowl for a victim to practise her questionable tattoo skills on. Now she’s trying to flog Kurtan a computer monitor as if it’s a full computer and showing a terrified Kerry her collection of “comparethemeerkats.com”.

This time around, Mandy has a bigger role to play, as Kerry starts receiving what she considers to be threatening letters and enlists the help of her intimidating neighbour as a bodyguard. Mandy has a unique insight into the mind of the perpetrator, thanks to the time she once spent stalking a member of S Club 7… Kerry soon regrets letting Mandy into her home though, when she’s being forced into a nunchucks demonstration and a hellish game of Happy Families – not at the same time, but I wouldn’t put it past Mandy.

While this unfolds, Kurtan takes on some manual labour work, under the management by Kerry’s dad, and is about as suited to it as you’d imagine. This Country has an autobiographical feel to it, since Daisy May and Charlie Cooper are from the Costwolds themselves, and adding to this is the fact that Kerry’s self-centred dad is played by the pair’s real-life father, reprising his role from series 1. Also back for series 2 is annoying neighbor Slugs, who is not just based on an acquaintance of the Coopers but also played by the man himself.

Series 2 of This Country promises to deliver more of what we already know and love about the show, while also offering a more in-depth look into some of the characters and their lives. For instance, an upcoming episode will focus on the vicar and his thus far unseen son. Fans will be pleased to know that, judging by the first two installments, This Country’s second series is just as funny and sharply written as its first, with both of the Cooper siblings on top form. If this high standard can be kept up, they should be allowed to continue making this show for as long as they want to.

This Country series 2 starts Monday 26th February on BBC Three.