TV Review: Scarborough, BBC One

TV Review: Scarborugh, BBC One

I've been a touch tardy publishing my review of Scarborough and I've not been able to avoid some of the reviews that Derren Litten's new sitcom has received. There have been good ones and bad ones and, I have to say, I side more with the good ones.

The is certainly classier than Litten's long-running ITV series Benidorm, which seemed to set out to make a virtue of being course, vulgar and tacky. Compared to Benidorm Scarborough feels like Downton Abbey. 

The first episode is something of a scene-setter. Litten has said that he wants to make something with a soapy vibe, so there are lots of characters and places to introduce. There's the hairdressing salon, the karaoke pub (where Litten has a cameo) and various other locations. 

The main story revolves around the on-off relationship between amusement arcade boss Mike (Jason Manford) and Karen, played by ex-Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley. Mike has been spotted snogging behind Karen's back (not a Seann Walsh reference from what I can tell) so things seem to be on hold between them.

Another plot-line has more of a murky, mucky Benidorm feel to it. A woman has died straining on the toilet and her handbag turns out to be full of cash. So what is going to happen to the money...?

A number of reviews have singled out a Jimmy Savile gag as a sign of the show's weakness. It's not a great gag, but hardly in horrific bad taste given the context of the remark. Then again a lot of the show does have an old-fashioned unreconstructed feel, from the beigeness of the colours to the music. The soundtrack certainly seems to have come from a Now That's What I Call The 1980s album.

But Benidorm also has some good lines - some so good they would be worthy of Victoria Wood. "I was knee deep in Terry Pratchett," says one of Mike's distracted employees. And when a customer calls the hair salon asking if they do pedicures they get the reply: ""No, I'm sorry we don't touch feet."

It's not exactly Catastrophe or This Way Up, but it is not trying to be. And neither is it Mrs Brown's Boys. Or Benidorm. There's certainly enough going on here to make me want to keep watching. 

Scarborough, BBC One, Friday, 9.30pm. And on catch-up here.


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