Saturday, 1 June 2013

"Up the Women" BBC4 TV series Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3 review

You think, O God, is this going to be a Frankie Howerd spinoff? No, it's a brave (could have been a train wreck) sitcom (1910 suffragettes) that is ten times better written and funnier than ITV's new sitcom "Vicious".
Don't forget the message, we seem to take this for granted these days, but feminism needs a kick in the pants after watching that reactionary 'sister' on "10 O'clock Live" last week.
After a rocky first scene, I settled back to enjoy this, as each character entered the Banbury Church Hall. The live audience is not as obtrusive after the first few minutes.
The lovable daffy nun (Judy Parfitt) from "Call the Midwife" has the best lines. I think I spied the sexy receptionist (Emma Pierson) from "Hotel Babylon" too. Adding to the fun, a very different Ryan Sampson (Grumio in Plebs). Boy, this guy is versatile.
Anyway I was won over by the end of the episode. This is Jessica Hynes's baby. Nice to see BBC has given bub a second series in 2014 (this time with 6 episodes). For good reason.

UPDATE: just watched this first episode again, few days later, this time with the's definitely a winner. Nicely written, sitcom with a heart. Episode 2 had more Ryan Sampson, too! Emma Pierson had a brilliant scene about her multitude of sprogs. It was as consistently funny as the first episode.

Third and final episode of the series featured a Monty Python-ish bit with the tiny Emmeline Pankhurst (Sandy Toksvig hiding under an enormous bonnet) portrayed as a school bully. This final half hour episode pulled out all the stops. I laughed out loud one moment, and was moved the next by the warm and well-drawn characters. Jessica Hynes's plaintive, tremulous voice is quite stirring.

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