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Broadcasters have a tendency to overhype the launch of a new comedy. The pre-launch blub always promises a brilliant script, a hilarious storyline and an outstanding cast: well BBC Two kept their promise with Sopie Willan ‘Alma’s Not Normal’.
Sophie Willan who created, wrote and stars, deserves all the plaudits she gets for this ‘bitingly funny and unflinching take on class, sexuality, mental health and substance abuse.’
The pilot won Willan a BAFTA for Best Writing and this full series is sure to win more categories from more awarding bodies. It gets off to a flying start and soars with each episode.
The series, which is now available on iplayer, follows Alma as she struggles to get her life back on the rails after a break-up with her long term boyfriend. But left with no job, no qualifications and a rebellious streak this wannabe actress it’s not going to find it easy. Meanwhile her mum, who is battling a heroin addiction, has been sectioned for arson and Alma’s vampish Grandma Joan wants nothing to do with her unstable daughter.
Alma eventually settles into a job at which she excels, without ‘A levels’.
The superb cast for the full series alongside Sophie are Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley, Downton Abbey) as her mum Lin who has a passing resemblance to Mrs Overall with Government issue teeth; Lorraine Ashbourne (The Crown, Cheat) as her Nan Joan, a lover of animal print and fried spam, Jayde Adams (Crazy Delicious) as Alma’s exuberant best friend and confidant, Leanne, James Baxter (Still Open all Hours, Emmerdale) as Alma’s ex-boyfriend Anthony and Nicholas Asbury (Doctor Who, Chewing Gum) as Jim, Lin’s schizophrenic ‘boyfriend’.
Completing the cast are; Thanyia Moore (The Duchess, Jamie Johnson), Dave Spikey (Phoenix Nights) and Ben Willbond (Ghosts, Yonderland).
There have been four brilliant sitcoms launched this year, all written by females with female leads: Alma’s Not Normal, Starstruck, We Are LadyParts and Back to Life. BAFTA will have an unenviable task in choosing Best Comedy 2022 when entries open in October.