Saturday, 27 August 2011


Hooray! Outnumbered returns to BBC1 at 9pm next Friday. Beautifully observed and partly improvised, this is a comedy about three children effortlessly and expertly outwitting their well-meaning and politically correct parents, mostly by the use of what might pass as common sense and bald statement of truth, from their perspective. This will be the fourth series and, given the ages of the children - Ramona Marquez (Karen), Daniel Roche (Ben), Tyger Drew-Honey (Jake) - I suspect it may be our last opportunity to cheer them on as they wind up their parents, played by Claire Skinner and Hugh Dennis, to a hilarious pitch of bemused impotence. Come to think of it, Ben also out-smarted the Vicar when he took his opportunity, at a boring wedding reception, to quizz him about God's chosen method of atonement ('Couldn't He think of a better way than the cross?'). Earlier, Karen had gone through a phase of slightly self-righteous Christianity; as someone whose Christian parents worried that we might not choose Christianity, it was interesting to see it all from the reverse perspective - a secular mother, troubled by her daughter's espousal of Christianity under the influence of a fundamentalist teacher. The children have razor sharp minds, questioning techniques worthy of highly trained barristers (especially Karen) and the wisdom of those who are not afraid to state the truth. The series portrays what I Iove best about being with children - their ability to get straight to the heart of a matter and to ask the questions which adults avoid but which really challenge our understanding of ourselves and our social norms.

Written by Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton of Drop the Dead Donkey fame, the series knocks spots off most of the comedies about family life seen over recent years. I am looking forward to Friday nights, this Autumn!

For a taster see 


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