ITV2 launch a new comedy tonight at 10pm, Cockroaches
Yeah, I know the launch of a new comedy on ITV2 isn't exactly inspiring stuff (after all, the main channel ITV, has a shocking record when it comes to comedy; not producing anything funny since Watching ended in 1993) but this one intrigued me because of its post apocalypse setting - England nine years after nuclear war had decimated the planet. Could this be Survivors as a sitcom? The show may only make its debut tonight, but Sky+ gave eager viewers like me the chance to download all 6 episodes of the series to watch in advance last week which is just what I did.
I think living in a post apocalyptic wasteland might be more preferable than watching Cockroaches.
It really is that bad. The great cast led by Daniel Lawrence Taylor and Esther Smith, including Nigel Planer, Robert Bathurst, Alexander Armstrong, Jaime Winstone, Tom Davis, Dan Renton Skinner, Caroline Quentin and Rich Hall (oh and there's also Jack Whitehall, but other than his role in the excellent ensemble Fresh Meat, he really leaves me cold) is really let down by Freddy Syborn's scripts - with Bathurst being especially wasted in the role of a Boris Johnson like Prime Minister now gone feral, given just a handful of lines in all six episodes.
There's a couple of smiles across the series (episode two is a highlight) but such a quota really isn't enough for a sitcom and Cockroaches ultimately squanders both its novel premise and its cast. If I had to single out any one performer it would be Esther Smith who I first noticed appearing in the hugely disappointing second series of the Greg Davies BBC3 sitcom Cuckoo. There, Smith had the hard task of replacing Tamla Kari as Davies' daughter and wife of the original Cuckoo character and, as a result, made little impression on me. She really capitalises on her role here though, freed of the thorny issue of trying to make it her own, which makes it all the more frustrating that the material ultimately doesn't deserve her.
You can see for yourself at 10pm tonight on ITV2, but I can safely predict you won't be series linking it.