Review: This Country, Episode 5, BBC Three (And BBC One)

There is a brilliant new interview with the creators of This Country, Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper, here in which they say that the series is basically their experience of growing up in the Cotswolds. I presume, however, that their father was never accused of being a Peeping Tom as Kerry's dad Martin is in this week's episode of this fabulously funny mockumentary.

Grubby Martin, who has been banished to an even grubbier caravan in a grubby field, has an explanation. Martin (played by Daisy May's real father Paul Cooper) was in the bushes with his flies undone because he was desperate for the toilet. And he was not "aroused, just well-endowed". It is jealousy that has prompted the complaints against him and driven the darts club to shun him. But having said that he does have previous, as Kerry mentions, having been accused of being a Peeping Tom umpteen times over the decades...

Meanwhile Kurtan has asked out Kayleigh, the new girl in the village, but he has a love rival in Sluggs. They both have a chance to impress her and while Kurtan can talk the talk, when it comes to going out with her – ie hanging around on a playground bench with her – he can't exactly walk the walk. His conversational gambit about vaping is excruciatingly dull and Kayleigh is suitably unimpressed by the romantic card he hands over. 

The inevitable comparison is with various other mockumentaries from The Office to People Just Do Nothing. There is also an air of Life Is Sweet-era Mike Leigh about the awkwardness of the dialogue in places. Some might suggest that this portrayal of bored, marginalised youth is cynical, cruel, nasty or patronising. But apart from the fact that the creators have said how they have drawn on their own lives and the lives of those around them there is also a clear undertow of tenderness and affection here. Not always, perhaps, but certainly this week when Kerry spends time with her isolated dad playing airline pilots with him on the computer.

We can laugh at the antics of the people in This Country – it is hard to decide who is more hopeless this week out of Kerry and Kurtan – but that doesn't mean we haven't also grown to care about them over these episodes. One more week to go, but hopefully there will be another series.

Available online here and after Match of the Day on Saturdays.

Read review of Episode 1 here.

Read review of Episode 2 here.

Read review of Episode 3 here.

Read review of Episode 4 here.


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