In and Out of the Kitchen is a quaint sitcom following the mishaps of Damien (Miles Jupp) and Anthony (Justin Edwards), a gay, middle class couple living in Queen’s Park, London. The programme is based on the Radio 4 sitcom (that shares its name), which was also written by Jupp and has been running for three series.
Damien Trench is a struggling food writer who appears to be far more interested in asserting his authority through pedantic squabbles with those around him than by actually putting pen to paper. The man who puts up with Damien’s incessant time-wasting is Anthony. Anthony himself is often left to fade into the background of this often narcissistic artist’s busy lifestyle, but the dynamic seems to work (for both the characters and us viewers). The couple are endearing yet frustratingly competitive, often to the point of being childishly pedantic in Damien’s case and the resultant development of each episode’s narrative is reminiscent of Jack Dee and Pete Sinclair’s Lead Balloon, where Damien manages to get himself into the most horrendously awkward social situations. An excellent cook, but not such an excellent socialite, it seems.
In and Out of the Kitchen feels very reliable and secure, and has a soothing quality due to its highly crafted nature, which is instantly recognisable from Jupp’s other works, including his stand up. The dialogue is snappy, the delivery smug and the camera work is stunning. Punctuated by beautifully shot narrated recipe sequences, which could have been lifted straight from any popular BBC cookery programme, this programme has an innate fluency that means it doesn’t have to necessarily rely on being funny.
This gently paced and intelligent comedy feels very much like visiting the home of distant friend. I can’t help feeling a little out of place, but I am more than happy to observe as an external onlooker.