TV Review: Back, Channel 4, Wednesday

Reporter:

Jamie Bowman

WITH its unassuming title and a late night midweek slot on Channel 4, it feels like Back has gone a bit under the radar during its recent run.

It’s coming to an end with this week’s episode the last but I’d urge you to catch up with what’s been a frequently hilarious sitcom and a welcome return to the small screen for the ever fruitful partnership of comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb.

Mitchell plays failed lawyer and divorcee Stephen, who is preparing to take over the family pub after the death of his father.

With Stephen resigned to a quiet life in the country (Stroud provides the setting) in walks in the mysterious stranger Andrew, who claims he was one of the many children fostered by Stephen’s parents.

No one is quite sure if Andrew is telling the truth, least of all Stephen whose childhood memories of his father seem very different to the new arrival, but within hours Andrew is charming his new family into accepting him, with Stephen’s mentally unstable sister instantly falling for the cuckoo in the nest.

Anyone who loved Peep Show will find much to enjoy about Mitchell and Webb reuniting in roles that are instantly familiar.

Stephen is almost a carbon copy of Mark Corrigan as he flirts unsuccessfully with his ex wife, frets about his dead father and tries in vain to expose Andrew for the charlatan he suspects him for.

Webb relishes his role as smooth Andrew, whose modern ideas for the pub horrify poor Stephen as the John Barleycorn is turned into a hipster’s paradise via chorizo, brie paninis and ‘glamping’ in the beer garden.

The humour tends to err on the dark side, with my favourite line in the brilliant opening episode summing up much of the atmosphere that runs through Back: “There’s a music festival here every summer. It has four stages. Like cancer.”

Hopefully Back will return for a second season before long.

Email:

jamie.bowman@nwn.co.uk

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