Written by Joe Wilkinson and David Earl, the series follows a week in the lives of 40-something Simon and his fiancée Esther as they stay for what they hope will be a relaxing short summer break with Simon’s parents and brother David (Ben Rufus Green)
After his uncomfortable experience in series 1 when taking his previous girlfriend, Donna (Diane Morgan), home to the Isle of Wight to meet his parents you’d think that Simon (Joe Wilkinson) would have learned his lesson. But no. In the second series Simon takes new fiancé, Esther (the radiant Susannah Fielding) for a week’s holiday at his parent’s new house. Mother, Sue (Sue Johnston) and step-father, Ray, now played by Gregor Fisher following the death of Bobby Ball last year, are well intentioned but intrusive and infuriating: not just to Simon and Esther but to the viewer as well.
Gold describe this show as “affectionate comedy about family life” but, just like the first series, don’t expect laugh out loud comedy. The Cockfields are a sort of middle class Royle Family family. The humour is conversational and stems from the gentle conflict between an over-anxious mother and blowhard step-father’s relationship with their world weary 40 something son who, it seems, deliberately or unthinkingly triggers his mother’s anxiety.
Michelle Dotrice joins the cast for this second series as Sue’s friend Lyn and begs the question: where would we be without a good old British fart gag?
With two episodes last night and another on each of the next four nights, Simon and Esther’s week long holiday is shown over the course of an actual week of enjoyable if uncomplicated viewing.