TV: Home, C4

home rufus jones

Rufus Jones is not stupid. When I tweeted a link to the trailer for his new series Home and said it was about a family finding a Syrian refugee in the back of their Audi in Dorking some wags (hat tips to journalist Gavin Martin and promoter Toby Jones) responded by suggesting it sounded like a live action Paddington. The thought had clearly already occurred to Jones when he was writing Home as he makes the same pre-emptive gag in the very first episode.

Jones is also not lazy either. He has recently appeared in Stan & Ollie as their oily promoter and can currently be seen as a sensitive dad in Flack on W. As well as writing Home he plays a character somewhere in between with a bit of classic sitcom haplessness thrown in too. Quantity surveyor Peter is the new partner of Katy (Rebekah Staton) and there's a parallel narrative going on here. Will Katy's son John (Oaklee Pendergast) – who calls the house "our home" – accept Peter? Will England accept Sami, who is played with a brilliant deadpan sense of humour by Youssef Kerkour?

In the first episode the family have to come to terms with losing their luggage in a Calais petrol station but gaining a Syrian refugee. Peter, who in a passing reference is revealed to be a Brexiteer, wants to get rid of Sami, but Katy, who like Sami is a teacher, is considerably more sympathetic. At one point she wants to give him some cash but only has a Cafe Nero loyalty card. "I'm afraid i'm in no position to speculate on the coffee market," replies Sami. 

And gradually it looks like Peter is set to become more caring too, but not before some enjoyable sitcom incidents, including a brief spell with the police suspecting that Peter is a people smuggler himself. By the end both Peter and Sami are banished to the lounge by the formidable Katy: "We have both been exiled by an unstoppable force."

Home boasts snappy dialogue and some great jokes, but most of all it oozes humanity, Sami, of course, is just like us. He watches Top Gear and Friends. Just because he mistakes Marmite for Nutella doesn't make him any different. I can see this storyline winding up certain types of people (I'm thinking the type that might go on Nigel Farage's march) but they probably don't watch Channel 4 anyway. Maybe if they did watch it they might mellow in the same way we see Peter mellow.  

Home, Tuesdays from March 5, C4, 9.45pm


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