Thursday, 4 August 2011

Trollied (Sky 1): a sitcom with a bit of heart

Here's a quick review of tonight's Trollied I wrote for Orange.

As a grizzled veteran of the North-West value supermarket scene, part of me was looking forward to Trollied, Sky 1’s new sitcom. Meanwhile, another part was dreading it, fearing something like When the Whistle Blows, the awful comedy-within-a-comedy in Extras. So, how did it turn out?

I’m happy to say the opening double bill fared well, even if the comedy never reached a higher gear than “gentle” and a couple of gags got flogged to death.

With a quality ensemble cast, including Jane Horrocks (above) and Mark Addy (The Full Monty, Game of Thrones), it flitted at first from character to character a bit like a sketch show, before beginning to hint that there was a bit more going on beneath the surface.

For instance, throughout the first episode we saw butcher Kieran (Nick Blood) and checkout girl Katie (Chanel Cresswell) bickering and flirting away like a long-term couple, before learning at the end that he’s got a horrible waspish girlfriend and clearly doesn’t realise how deep Katie’s feelings for him really are - a bit Tim-and-Dawn, but very nicely handled.

And while interim manager Julie (Horrocks) started out as a prickly and ambitious jobsworth, we later got a sense of the desperation inside her, as she poured passive aggressive hostility upon the woman whose maternity leave she’s covering. Like a lot of the best sitcom characters, you can almost smell the sadness coming off her.

However, I think what pleased me more than anything else about Trollied was the fact it was a bit more respectful than most comedy depictions of people who do real jobs. It captured nicely the banter that gets you through a tedious work day, and had a bit of generosity and heart that made a very welcome addition.

Sky might not have had much of a reputation down the years for its original programming, but Trollied came as a very pleasant surprise and suggests that some of its other upcoming comedy series, like Mount Pleasant (starring Sally Lindsay) and Starlings (with Matt 'Super Hans' King), could be worth a look.

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