Raised By Wolves is a brand new, refreshingly unyielding sitcom written by Caroline and Caitlin Moran. It follows a loud, predominantly-female family, which reflects the upbringing the Moran sisters had (described in detail in Caitlin’s best-selling book, How to be a Woman). A twist, however, is that the programme is set in the present day, rather than the Eighties. The essence of Caz and Caitlin’s teenage years is reflected in the characters of Germaine and Aretha who are played by Helen Monks and Alexa Davies. These two ladies truly are a match made in television heaven; their conversations are cripplingly funny and their personalities are near-polar opposites.
The girls are very intelligent, which immediately challenges the prejudices Caitlin (I can only talk for her, rather than both sisters, because I have read her book) no doubt faced growing up in Wolverhampton. It is also reminiscent of the way many young people feel they are interpreted by people from outside the Midlands, whether that is down to our accent, or the areas in which we may live. In this sense, Raised by Wolves has the potential to be revolutionary and as a Midlands teenager myself, it is encouraging to hear the accent used in a non-derogatory way for once, in a way that doesn’t suggest stupidity.
The kids’ mother, Della, is played by Rebekah Staton who approaches the role with brilliant sarcasm and brutal honesty. With helpful, yet somehow aggressive, motherly advice like: “Germaine, you’ve got the posture of a victim- sort it out,” the character of Della acts as a sort of moral device for the entire programme. Della holds all of the wisdom.
Some critics have accused the Moran sisters of being arrogant in suggesting that this is the only sitcom on television with a mainly female cast, but I think that accusation is ludicrous, not least because they haven’t once implied this. Rather than worrying about whether there are any programmes of this sort, we should be asking ourselves whether there are enough. To criticise Raised By Wolves for being, at the end of the day, unnecessarily feminist sounds like just the thing an oblivious misogynist might say.
The resultant message is that this sitcom is needed more than ever. Not only is this programme bitterly funny, but it also implies something far more poignant beneath the surface. I eagerly anticipate another series.