One of the silliest, most ludicrous new sitcoms from the last few years is finally back on our screens; Greg Davies writes and stars in the highly anticipated second series of Man Down.
Davies and his costars Roisin Conaty and Mike Wozniak make a perfect comedy trio, with Dan’s hopeless communication skills, Jo’s fearlessness and general ineptitude and Brian’s constant moaning and criticisms creating a diverse and integrated unit. I don’t think anyone is sure why these three are friends, but the consequential dramas are priceless. Roisin Conaty’s character of Jo in particular is a favourite of mine. She’s brash, idiotic and absolutely hilarious; always plotting schemes which often involve her pursuit to get a decent job, or any job for that matter, which she is hopeless at. Man Down is a glorious combination of a group of painfully ordinary people, in their truest sense, with the strangest of circumstances.
Young actors Madeleine Harris (Paddington) and Alfie Davis are fantastic in their roles as ‘know-it-all’ and ‘angry kid’ respectively, and are consistently given a platform by Greg Davies to be the stars of the scene, which shows considerate comedy writing and reflects Davies’ compassionate character. The presence of the kids allows Greg’s childish side to come to the forefront, therefore accentuating the brilliant ridiculousness of each episode’s plot, and ridiculousness is always guaranteed with this manic comedy presence.
A new character has also joined the group: Dan’s over-involved Aunt Nesta (Stephanie Cole). This new arrival seems to provide company for Dan’s widowed mother (Gwyneth Powell) but that doesn’t mean she feels the need to stop doing his washing for him, or generally interfering in every aspect of his life. The onscreen relationship between Daniel and his mum is hilarious, partly due to the height difference, but also the fact that Davies often refers to her as “old woman”.
Many worried that the death of comedy royalty Rik Mayall, who played Dan’s father in series one, in June last year would signal the demise of Man Down, because perhaps no ‘replacement’ as such for Rik could ever be sufficient. Filming was set to begin in August and it looked unclear to viewers where the programme was set to go from here. But with a writing crew and cast as skilled as this, it soon became clear that not only was Man Down still going to continue, but the spirit of Rik Mayall was to live on in the show also. Greg Davies’ comedy, much like Mayall’s, is known for being silly and widely accessible, so it is impossible not to be reminded of Rik while seeing Greg mincing up and down the exam hall, playing a game of ‘Snorkel Parka’ or buying Flumps in a supermarket.
Dan may be absolutely hopeless, but I’d have loved for Greg Davies to be my teacher, even if it was just for the chance to go bike riding down dangerously steep hills rather than doing any work.