The first three months of 2019 saw the return of hit shows including Fleabag, Derry Girls and Timewasters, but we also saw a number of brand new comedies arrive on the scene.
Here’s a roundup of the best new comedies that aired on British TV between January and March…
This Time With Alan Partridge
This Time with Alan Partridge saw Steve Coogan’s iconic comedy character return to the BBC for the first time in over fifteen years. The premise: he’s been drafted in to co-host the One Show-esque This Time due to one of its usual presenters falling ill. Dense with jokes and memorable moments (the hand washing segment, the corporal punishment feature and the Alan lookalike to name but a few), the show is one that rewards repeat viewers. Coogan has never been better and he’s deftly supported by Susannah Fielding and Tim Key, along with appearances from lots of talented character comedians such as Lolly Adefope, Ellie White and Seb Cardinal.
Channel 4’s Home centres around a Syrian refugee who ends up staying with a British family in Dorking, after he stows away in their car boot when they’re travelling home from a holiday. A classic fish-out-of-water sitcom with a timely twist, it’s beautifully written, with moments that will make you laugh out loud and others that may move you to tears. Youssef Kerkour is superb as Sami, who has an unwavering love for the UK despite the hostility he frequently comes up against, and so are Rufus Jones (the show’s creator/writer), Rebekah Staton and Oaklee Pendergast as the mostly well-meaning but often clueless family he stays with. Here’s hoping a second series is on the horizon…
Channel 4 comedy-drama Pure tells the story of a young woman who spontaneously moves from Scotland to London to discover herself, with a twist… Marnie (an engaging performance from newcomer Charly Clive) is plagued by intrusive sexual thoughts which she soon learns are linked to OCD. The show offers a welcome insight into a commonly misunderstood condition, which most people associate with a compulsion to be clean and tidy when it can actually manifest itself in a wide variety of ways. It finds a good balance of comedy and drama, with interesting supporting characters, such as a recovering sex addict played by Joe Cole, whose stories are just as compelling as Marnie’s.
Stand-up comedian Tim Renkow co-writes and stars in this four-part BBC Three series about an American man, Tim, with cerebral palsy living in the UK. Laughs come from Tim being keenly aware of how people prejudge him because of his disability and being unafraid to use this to his advantage, whether that’s to avoid paying for a taxi or to access free food. The opening episode sees Tim get a job and assume (wrongly, as it turns out) that he’s a ‘diversity hire’ and therefore unsackable. Renkow is flanked by a great supporting cast, including Sharon Rooney as his work-shy carer and Lorraine Bracco as his outspoken mum, and episode 3 has a fun guest appearance from Lee Ridley, aka Lost Voice Guy, as a rival who’s doing a lot better in life than Tim is.