Friday Night Dinner: Why I’m happy there’s going to be second helpings

I was ever so pleased to hear that a new series of Friday Night Dinner has been commissioned. In a week when the dreadful Campus has had us bemoaning the state of modern British TV comedy, it’s good to know we have something to look forward to.

FND (which finishes its first series tonight, C4 10pm) has been an absolute treat. A programme which does what it says in the title, the basic set-up is that we join the Goodman family (mum Jackie, dad Martin and sons Adam and Jonny) at the parental home for their Friday night family dinner.

Jackie (Tamsin Greig) is in charge of the cooking (apart from when she had a sprained ankle, and then dad took over kitchen duties, serving “Potatoes. And some meat”). She’s also in charge of trying to keep her physically (though not mentally) grown up sons under some sort of control. This is an easier job than trying to control Martin, who will insist on eating toast out of the bin and taking his shirt off at inappropriate moments because he’s hot. Martin wears a hearing aid, and often uses his deafness to get out of doing what Jackie wants him to do, such as destroying his beloved and vast collection of back-copies of New Scientist.

Mark Heap plays neighbour Jim, the sort of neighbour who’ll turn up just as you’re sitting down for dinner and then hover around saying “something smells nice” and hoping you’ll ask him to stay. Jim is an oddball, something like Roy Cropper in Corrie used to be, kind of sinister but basically harmless. He’s always accompanied by his faithful dog Wilson, who frightens him a bit, and he has a crush on Jackie. Mark Heap is an absolute master of physical comedy, and the scenes involving Jim are toe-curlingly, blissfully awkward.

And that’s it, really, as far as plot is concerned. Adam puts salt in Jonny’s water and Jonny puts squirty cream under Adam’s napkin. Grandma turns up eager to try on the bikini Jackie bought for her in Spain, and Jonny coaches her to say “Happy birthday Pus-face” to his brother. Jonny’s girlfriend Alison fails to appear yet again and Adam’s convinced he’s made her up. A normal Friday night round at the Goodmans’ – and I can’t wait for series 2.

(If you’ve missed series 1 so far, catch up on the FND website here).

Posted by PLA

5 Comments

Filed under Comedy

5 responses to “Friday Night Dinner: Why I’m happy there’s going to be second helpings

  1. inkface

    I have a real soft spot for Mark Heap. He seems to have no vanity and will play the most slimy & odd characters, but was actually rather hot as the psychiatrist in an episode of Miranda I caught a bit of.

  2. Qwerty

    PLA this is a red-letter a day: finally, a programme we have both watched! I’ve been enjoying it very much, even though it’s an old-fashioned kind of sitcom. Tamsin Greig is astonishing, particularly considering she isn’t Jewish – she is exactly like loads of women who go to my Mum’s synagogue. She doesn’t overplay it in the slightest. And I have a very small crush on the two sons: they’re so cute.

  3. Tabithaana

    At last a decent C4 Friday night comedy. Tamsin Greig always delivers as does Mark Heap who is surely the best comedy actor around, loved him in The Great Outdoors. Both Green Wing veterans also.

    • Paul

      I think it’s excellent too – I was rolling in the aisles last week, for the Mercedes episode, which has been my favourite over the whole series. “Schmoidel, anyone?”

      That episode where Mark Heap played the psychiatrist was my favourite of the last series of Miranda, too – so nice to find people who share my tastes!

  4. I ended up liked Friday Night Din ner.I thought the best actor of the show was Paul Ritter by a long shot. Martin was very funny. I aslo liked Greig, but I wished she was used better like in Episodes because I think she can be funnier than she is showcased on FND.

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