TV: Comedy Playhouse – Bumps, BBC One

TV: Bumps, BBC One

There was a bit of a social media kerfuffle recently when it was announced that heavily promoted new comedy King Gary had been recommissioned. Derren Litten, who wrote Scarborough, which was axed after one run, tweeted that his series got higher viewing figures on Friday nights. So why did the BBC recommission one and not the other? 

Anyway, all of this is to say that if the BBC doesn’t commission a series of Bumps, which airs in a similar slot as a one-off, they really have lost their marbles. It’s got a great cast, a pretty original plot and it gets the blend of comedy and drama spot on.

Amanda Redman plays fun-loving Frinton-on-Sea sixtysomething Anita, who is happy with her grown-up kids, amicable divorce and job delivering groceries. Just one thing is missing. She would like to have another baby to cuddle and there doesn’t seem to be much likelihood of her having a grandchild. Her son is too immature to be a dad, her daughter is too irresponsible and can’t have children anyway. At least that’s what she thinks...

So Anita decides to take matters into her own hands and do it herself, heading off to a Dutch fertility clinic where they can work wonders. Of course life is never that simple and the pilot sets up a scenario that is both comic, serious and, while unusual, fairly credible. 

It helps that the makers have assembled an excellent cast. Anita is played by Amanda Redman, ex-hubby Howard is played by Philip Jackson, useless son Aiden is played by Seb Cardinal and daughter Joanne is played by Lisa McGrillis, who also plays a similar role in Mum but has a few more brain cells here.

The script is written by real-life couple Lucy Montgomery and Rhys Thomas, who usually make more left-field comedy – Montgomery was in warped sketch show Tittybangbang and Thomas made the Brian Pern shows and the brilliant end-of-year round-ups A Year In The Life Of A Year. They also crop up in small but very effective cameos as barmaid and Joanne's waster boyfriend respectively. I should also mention for old school comedy fans that Freddie Parrot Face Davies is in it. And for fans of The Wire Clarke Peters, aka Detective Lester Freamon, is in it. And for Dr Who fans there's Louise Jameson, who played Leela in the 1970s.

Sometimes a sitcom has success written all over it. King Gary and Scarborough both had potential to be hits. Bumps feels like an instant hit. If the BBC doesn't commission a series they don't need their Fallopian tubes testing, they need their brains testing.

Bumps, Friday, February 21, 9.30pm, BBC One.

Picture: BBC/Kudos Film & Television

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