TV: Upright, Sky Atlantic

TV: Upright, Sky Atlantic

Tim Minchin's new comedy drama takes him back to Australia. The multi-talented comedian plays a character called Lucky Flynn, although he doesn't seem that lucky in the first episode. The episode virtually starts with him being run off the road in the middle of nowhere by a truck being driven by Meg (Milly Alcock), a surly teenager who seems to run on a diet of pure fuck you attitude.

Milly has injured her arm and can't drive any more, meaning that she soon becomes Lucky's passenger. The scene is set for a classic mismatched friendship-slash-road movie. With, this being written by the always inventive Minchin, a difference, of course. He is rushing home to Perth, 4000km away to see is dying mother but also happens to have the other true love of his life strapped to the back of the truck - a piano and can't go anywhere without it.

The first episode quickly gets you hooked. Minchin is good - all black clothes and straggly hair, so no stretch in the costume/make-up department then – but Alcock is fantastic as Meg. She is clearly a star in the making and dominates every scene she is in, which is some feat considering most of those scenes are up against Minchin, who is no slouch in the charisma stakes himself.

It helps, of course, that he has given Meg some of the best lines. She variously calls him "dad", "paedo" and "weird Chewbacca guy". The wide opens spaces of Australia lend this an eerie, slightly other-worldly feel, which is presumably the intention. Meg's philosophy is that everything happens for a reason, but Lucky responds by telling her the story of the cellist from ELO who was killed instantly when a hay bale hit his car. Was there a reason for this or was it purely random?

These misfits might hate each other at the start but it is clear that they are going to be spending a lot of time together over the eight episodes. And if you know what's good for you you'll be spending lots of time with them too.  

Upright, Sky Atlantic, Thursdays from November 28, 10pm. All epsiodes wll be available as a boxed set once the first one has aired.

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