TV: Warren, BBC One

martin clunes as warren

Fans of TV comedy have been getting excited recently over a run of great new shows in the pipeline such as Home, Derry Girls and a little old thing featuring Alan Partridge. Well, it's not all cutting edge comedy out there though. On the same night that Alan Partridge returns BBC One is also launching this new sitcom starring Martin Clunes.

I say "new", but there is nothing new about this. Clunes plays Warren, a middle-aged driving instructor with a permanent grump on. Maybe less grumpy than Victor Meldrew, but give him a few years and he might catch him up, 

Warren has a family, a suburban house and a snobby neighbour that seem to come direct from sitcom central casting. The only medium-sized twists I spotted in the opener are that he is a stepfather and a southerner who has ended up living in the north of England – something else to get his back up. 

In the first episode he is trying to get his indolent son to get a job in the local garden centre and also dispose of some bags of rubbish. Meanwhile in a subplot his wife and friends have a meeting with a clairvoyant in a pub that has a different tone and seems to have come out of a completely different programme. 

Warren is not all bad. Clunes is always watchable and there is some fun to be had waiting for him to explode Basil Fawlty-style. All credit to the writers Paul McKenna and Jimmy Donny Cosgrove that they resist that cliche and he never quite does boil over. 

Somehow though this seems to be catering for an older generation of viewers. There is a strange nostalgic undertow here, from the quip about "Bobby Charlton" to the fact that Warren seems to be the last person in Britain who still uses dial-up internet. Don't be fooled by the fact that Clunes' character says "bollocks" at the start, this is more Keeping Up Appearances than Men Behaving Badly. 

Warren, BBC One, Mondays from February 25 at 9pm. 


Hello! Thanks for reading all the way down. I wish I could give you a prize. But BTJ needs your support to continue - if you would like to help to keep the site going, please consider donating.

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.