TV Review: Man Down, C4

Good to see Greg Davies back as helpless, hapless, hopeless giant man-child teacher Dan. There are some nice new treats in the supporting cast too, but they have to have pretty big personalities to stand a chance of competing with Davies. Luckily they are.

In the opening episode of the new series Dan thinks he is about to get the sack but has the brainwave that if they don’t have his records they can’t give him the heave-ho. So he embarks on a perilous “Oceans Impossible” mission to retrieve them, which involves getting half a fence embedded in his cheek and shinning up a drainpipe - which inevitably ends in a literal case of Man Down.

The new guests we meet are Tony Robinson as Dan’s mum’s slightly sinister new boyfriend Daedalus, and Steven Berkoff as the more seriously sinister school caretaker, hammer-wielding Serb Mr Klackov. I can imagine Alexei Sayle being considered for the part – particularly as Davies is such a Young Ones fan – but Sayle would be far too benign and nowhere near as scary.

There is also Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, in a later episode but elsewhere in episode one it is good to see that Dan’s best friends Brian (Mike Wozniak, who gets a co-writing credit this week) and Jo are back. Jo (Roisin Conaty) reveals that she has written her autobiography entitled I Done It! though the second half of the book is completely blank. Because “I’m not dead yet.”

Man Down is a pretty conventional sitcom for Channel 4, not particularly wry or knowing, merely balls-deep stupid with the occasional whiff of sentimentality. But the cast certainly throw themselves into it with gusto. If you want to see an (over)grown man in his pants behaving like an idiot this is appointment-to-view TV.

Wednesdays at 10pm from July 13, C4.

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