TV Review: Cockroaches, ITV2


I don’t know what it says about our state of mind, but Sky has just announced a series about the end of the world, Apocalypse Slough, and last night ITV2 got in on the act early with Cockroaches, set ten years after a nuclear war which has obliterated most of the planet, leaving survivors to scrabble around like some extras in Mad Max but with added jokes.

Daniel Lawrence Taylor (from comedy duo Ginger and Black) and Esther Smith (Cuckoo) play Tom and Suze, who are wandering through England with the daughter Laura, conceived on the night of the big bang. Anarchy rules but things briefly look up when Esther meets an old schoolfriend, Oscar, played by Jack Whitehall as a post-apocalyptic posho gang leader with a penchant for patois.

Writer Freddy Syborn (who penned Bad Education with Whitehall) doesn’t quite make it clear how Tom and Suze survived, but he does come up with some good lines and nice exchanges, highlighting that while some things might change after the bomb, other things stay the same. Laura’s favourite toy is not a Barbie but their neighbour’s skull and as Tom and Suze try to get to Dover tedium frequently sets in: “This is boring." “We’re in a nuclear wasteland. What did you expect?”

The script is also peppered with some pithy cultural references. Wicker Man and Human Centipede gags punctuate the action and there was even a bit of high drama which we won't spoil if you haven't seen it yet. But mostly this plays it for easy laughs, with Tom as the fall-guy: “You’re not a survivor, You can’t even grow a beard.” It won’t be the end of the world if you miss Cockroaches, but future episodes promise appearances from Alexander Armstrong and Nigel Planer and it certainly feels worth sticking with. 

Watch the whole series now on itvPlayer or weekly on ITV2, Tuesdays, 10pm.


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