TV: Home From Home, BBC One

The BBC must have been pleased with the pilot of Home From Home because after the one-off starring Johnny Vegas went out on BBC Two in 2016 the full series is promoted to BBC One. Should they be pleased with it? Well, Home From Home isn't going to scare the horses or prompt the modern equivalent, Twitter rage, but it's not too bad at all. 

Mainly, that is, because of Johnny Vegas, who plays lower middle class service station employee Neil, who, with his typically loving but long-suffering wife Fiona (Niky Wardley) has bought a dream holiday chalet in the Lake District. Opposite the holiday chalet of perfect posh couple Robert and Penny Dillon (Adam James and Emilia Fox). Cue low level class warfare and snobbery with a bit of a twist.

In the first episode a wi-fi aerial is being put outside Neil's home. Over his dead body he decides and he stages a one-person protest, sinking slowly into the wet concrete foundations. The result looks like a weird homage to Samuel Beckett's Happy Days. I don't know if that's the intention but writers Chris Fewtrell and Simon Crowther do seem to have intellectual ambitions. The episode starts with some lines from Wordsworth.

The tone is a little uneven though. While the setting looks almost as beautiful as The Detectorists (whose Pierce Quigley pops up here), there are other moments that feel like discarded pages from old Terry and June scripts. There is even a sub-plot about Neil's boss being invited to dinner. Maybe it's just me, but I've never ever had my boss to dinner. Maybe that's where I'm going wrong.

I don't recall Susan Calman in the pilot but she crops up here as a passing conspiracy theorist. It's odd for a cameo. Maybe that will be her role in every episode. But the real attraction is the warm, sympathetic Vegas, who has a nice rapport with Adam James - despite their differences the two characters seem to bond. I always loved Vegas as an on-the-edge live performer and have never quite accepted him as a mainstream actor. But if he has to be in the mainstream i'd rather see him in this than in Benidorm

Fridays at 9.30pm on BBC1 from April 20.


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