This new sitcom starts tonight on Gold at 10pm, but it's been available to watch for the last few days as a preview.
My advice? Avoid it!
Based on a cartoon strip in The Oldie, The Rebel tells the story of Henry Palmer a disgruntled 70 year old who begins to despair of modern society with its hipsterish tendencies, it's nanny state and how the bankers and big businesses seem to get away with whatever they like. In short, he feels cheated that the promises of the 1960s never came to fruition and that he's lost the rebellion he felt as a mod in his youth. Mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore, Henry reverts to his youthful, rebellious nature and spends the entire first episode attacking policemen, blowing up cashpoints and performing his own kind of ram-raiding at his local supermarket, ramming a trolley into the glass frontage. The result being he's up before the magistrate played by Simon Williams, with only a last minute backstory from his GP (Doon Mackichan) excusing his behaviour as a symptom of depression since he has become a widower.
Simon Callow is terribly miscast as the former mod, Henry. Watching him flail about in his front room, supposedly in utter bliss, to The Jam's A Town Called Malice is totally unconvincing and quite embarrassing. In fact he's the most ludicrous example of someone claiming to be a mod since the time when Phil Collins said he wanted to meet Paul Weller to discuss The Modfather's perceived grievance with him, 'mod to mod'. It doesn't get any better for the supporting cast either; Henry's ageing hippy best friend played by Bill Paterson is the kind of stereotype last seen with Dylan the hippy rabbit in The Magic Roundabout, whilst Anita Dobson also pops up, largely to stand between the boys and look on adoringly, and Anna Crilly (Katy Wix's comedy partner) is wasted as Henry's middle-class and despairing daughter. These are great actors performing really shoddy material.
Because worst of all, it's just not funny. Not in any way, shape or kind. A case in point; when Crilly's character suggests a residential home for her dad and offers her dimwitted, weedy Asian husband (another generic stereotype in this kind of sitcom) the brochure, he misreads the home's name as 'Golden Corpses' - it is of course Golden Copse. Ho ho no.