Posted by: Paul | February 13, 2010

Nighty Night

We’ve been spending some time recently catching up on TV shows which passed us by for whatever reason. We’re now up to series 3 of The Sopranos and thoroughly enjoying it, and are currently halfway through the first series of Julia Davis’ award-winning suburban nightmare, Nighty Night.

If you haven’t seen it, Nighty Night is the anti Gavin & Stacey. Which is quite fitting in that both Ruth Jones and Julia Davis are in both series, and suffer an almost complete reversal of their situations from one to the other. It’s like one of the twisted sex sketches from Chris Morris’ Jam writ large – cold, cruel, frequently uncomfortable viewing and in the end incredibly funny. It’s the comedy of the outrageous, and turns situations around which whole dramatic tragedies have been written (cancer, MS, sexual dysfunction) into sharply written and observed character and situation comedy.

Jill Tyrell (played with calculated detachment by Davis) is married to Terry (the always excellent Kevin Eldon), who has just been diagnosed with cancer. While Terry undergoes a course of chemotherapy in hospital, Jill pretends that he has died – thinking and hoping that he will, for she is utterly cruel and almost unhinged – and sets about seducing her new neighbour, a GP whose wife has MS and spends much of her time wheelchair-bound. The GP is a brilliantly cast Angus Deayton, trapped in a relationship with a person whose health is failing and cynically regretting his choices in life. His wife, Cath, is played with admirable bravery by Rebecca Front, and is the epitome of niceness and the “quiet life” attitude which prevents her from offending anybody. The scene in which she asks Jill for the keys to her house back is squirmingly awkward and a situation anyone can relate to – having to ask something which we know is best but is going to upset the other person.

We’re only 3 episodes in and I’m not sure how much more I can take! It makes me feel the same way as Curb Your Enthusiasm – amused and horrifed at the same time. Not easy to pull off!


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