By Will Barber Taylor
Comedy Dramas have become the go to word for sitcoms these days. Since the advent of The Office, few series like to call themselves sitcoms even if they fit into the mould of a traditional sitcom. Brassic certainly has elements of a drama but it is drama with a small d. This is not implying that the series isn’t good; far from it.
Brassic is perhaps one of the most interesting and funny comedies this year and certainly of the last few years. Written by Danny Brocklehurst and created by Brocklehurst and series star Joseph Gilgun, the series will be broadcast on Sky One from the 22nd of August, with the entire series available to watch on NOW TV from then.
Set in Lancashire, the series follows a group of friends who spend their time involved in schemes concocted by Gilgun’s character Vinnie. As the first episode demonstrates, these schemes usually go awry to some degree such as their attempt to attempt to steal a Shetland pony so that Jim (Steve Evets) can enter the pony at the Royal Lancashire Show. So far – traditional sitcom.
Yet a lot of the overt beats that make up the first episode are not traditional sitcom material; rather they utilise subjects such as suicidal thought, depression, alcohol abuse and loneliness. Yet, the way in which Brocklehurst presents these subjects never lets the audience feel as if they are watching an intensely emotional or depressing drama but rather a spirited and funny show that follows in the footsteps of sitcoms that have gone before it. This is also partly due to the acting from the cast which is engaging and at times very funny.
In particular, series star Joseph Gilgun as Vinnie and Ryan Sampson as Tommo steal the show and keep the comedy rolling. Gilgun’s perfect balancing between Vinnie’s depression and his desire to make his life better through his various schemes is what lies at the core of the series and keeps it steaming ahead. Gilgun’s ability to utilise Vinnie’s depression and bipolar disorder as means of generating comedy whilst not denigrating them as subject is worthy of praise.
Similarly, Ryan Sampson as Tommo is a great generator of comedy throughout the first episode, but his character has fewer dramatic undertones. Tommo is the owner of an underground S&M club and as such as a liberal outlook on life. Sampson’s comic timing is superb and his nonchalant way of discussing setting up his “sex swing” is wonderfully realised, particularly with the touch of him constantly smoking a cigarette even when the gang are in trouble. Sampson’s performance is perhaps the comedic highlight of the episode and he deserve as many plaudits as possible for his portrayal.
Brassic isn’t the greatest sitcom that has ever been made. Nor is it the funniest or most realistic comedy ever created. But it is genuine and has a sense of fun and adventure about it that few comedies do in our modern television landscape. If you have Sky, I’d highly recommend checking it out.
Brassic begins on Sky One on the 27th of August at 9pm