tue 16/09/2014

Great Night Out, ITV1 | TV reviews, news & interviews

Great Night Out, ITV1

Stock characters in northern comedy drama fail to charm

Glyn, Beggsy, Hodge and Daz: thirtysomething friends since childhood

Judging by those associated with Great Night Out, it looked like ITV had found the successor to acclaimed thirtysomething drama Cold Feet. It has the same production team behind The Worst Week of My Life - one of the funniest programmes in BBC Comedy's recent output - additional material by playwright Jonathan Harvey, who is responsible for some punchily witty scripts in Coronation Street, and a cast of talented actors.

Mark Bussell and Justin Sbresni's series is about four blokes, friends since childhood, who go to footie together and meet once a week for a lads' night out. Hodge (Lee Boardman), permatanned and a snazzy dresser, thinks he's the leader of the group and is married to Kath (Rebekah Staton, pictured below); Daz (Stephen Walters) is a commitment-phobe cynic in an on-off relationship with Colleen; Beggsy (William Ash) is a nice-bloke dreamer, whose ex-wife has moved to Australia with their daughter; and Glyn is a bit of a misfit all round, who pines after Julie, a girl they knew at school.

Some of the comedy is toe-curlingly lame

The lads constantly get themselves into scrapes, and the opening episode (of six) centred on Hodge and Kath's fifth wedding anniversary. The planned get-together of groomsmen and bridesmaids soon fell apart, as we learned Hodge had sent out the wrong date in the email. As Kath waited in the hotel bar with Colleen (Naomi Bentley) for the men to park the car, they got themselves into trouble as they helped a drunk man on to a train to London. It turned out, however, he was the nervous groom running away from his wedding at the hotel, and they, after much frantic running to catch the right train, getting on and off the same train, persuading the train guard to make an unscheduled stop at Macclesfield, then changing their minds, etc etc, found themselves bound for London on a non-stopper. Happens all the time.

Another storyline was being played out across town as Glyn (Craig Parkinson) finally plucked up courage to make contact with Julie (Christine Bottomley) and he turned up at her salsa class with their local pub landlord Ricky Tomlinson in tow. Cue two men who had to dance together. Oh my sides.

You can see Great Night Out's creators spent little time in creating anything other than stock characters, and it's all so irritatingly old-fashioned. The lads are football-obsessed (the streets around Stockport County's ground play a starring role) and hopeless in relationships; the women, however, are sassy and sorted and drink gallons of white wine.

Some of the comedy is toe-curlingly lame. One of the women couldn't pronounce the word “chardonnay” when she was drinking in a posh hotel bar (really? really?), there was not one but two outrageously camp men (the dance teacher and the train guard) flouncing all over the place and the script had sudden outbreaks of t'northernness. “Oh it were anarchy. It were like the riots all over again,” said Beggsy's mother about the goujons being moved to a different aisle at Morrissons. Peter Kay, eat your heart out.

Great Night Out strikes me as the TV equivalent of Viva Forever!, where producers use the template of one great show - in that case Mamma Mia! - and apply it to another in the hope that the magic will work again. But whereas The Worst Week of My Life had an internal logic to it, however bizarre or outlandish the situations its lead Ben Miller found himself in, Great Night Out's farce is scarcely believable, and I found myself counting the ways in which the opening-episode scenario simply couldn't have worked within its time-frame, which is never a good sign.

Not even the occasional funny line to please anybody who knows north-west England's local rivalries - Macclesfield was neatly dissed and the group booed when passing a "Welcome to Manchester" sign - and some spirited acting can lift this from being a disappointing hour of paint-by-numbers TV.

  • Great Night Out continues on ITV1 on Fridays
The TV equivalent of Viva Forever!, the producers use the template of one great show and apply it to another

Share this article

Comments

Such a shame this didn't get

Such a shame this didn't get the chance of a second series. It obviously wasn't cool enough for the trendies. Such a shame as it was good, honest, clean (there's a term that can't be used about many tv shows) FUN. We loved it.

Great Night Out was

Great Night Out was compulsive viewing for the whole family - from my children through to my parents, we all loved it! It was harmless fun, and was something that we looked forward to each Friday night. I hope ITV commission another series - good television at it's best!.

really loved this

really loved this programme,it was good to see they filmed it around where i live,is there going to be a new episode,i really hope so..well done to all who starred in this programme

This is a great series. Well

This is a great series. Well crafted, filmed and acted. It really gets the northern sense of humour and relationship dynamics to a tea (yes that's what us northerners have...!) Love it, love it...really hoping its not a 6 episode pilot series like most. Great Friday slot. Please get a other series o. Film x

I love this show. Some new

I love this show. Some new comedies are proper lame! BUT this one was fantastic. Made me laugh so much! Pleaase do a series 2

Fantastic show it got funnier

Fantastic show it got funnier as the weeks went on. Loved the man utd sketch.

This is a brilliant show very

This is a brilliant show very very funny I love it & can't wait for many more to come in future, & Those who think that it's rubbish can bog off & not watch, just what's needed is more comedy to ITV

This is easily the best show

This is easily the best show on television in my opinion.It's difficult to clarify exactly but it has something about it that makes me look forward to the next episode and countdown the days.A great mix of cast,humor and silliness that for me allows an escape filled with laughter for at least 1 hour every week.Gutted the series as finished but praying they will not mess about when it comes to agreeing on many,many a future series. Great work to all concerned......

Just stumbled across this

Just stumbled across this site: critic smittic. Casting, direction, and acting is a superb Friday night tonic, the writing is brilliant - has me in stiches and works on so many levels. More Please!

Great Night Out - British

Great Night Out - British comedy at it's best! Gutted that it's finished, it's been the best thing on TV. The cast were fantastic and the script brilliant.

The reviewer needs to take

The reviewer needs to take her head out of her bucket of boiled beef and carrots and realise that there IS life north of the Watford gap. It's a funny show about life in the NW of England with a great cast, Ricky Tomlinson, STOCKPORT COUNTY & NO Will Mellor. Win-win-win-win!

Where ever it situated best

Where ever it situated best programme on TV at the moment. I am from the South but love Northern humour. That reviewer needs to get a job she is qualified for if there is such a thing. I really hope they do another series. Everyone I know loves it.

What has this critic been

What has this critic been smoking? This show is the best thing on TV! Someone needs to find a new job, because clearly they have no idea what a great tv show looks like! What an idiot!

Finally a peak time comedy

Finally a peak time comedy programme on ITV that is worth its salt. It makes me laugh. Nuf said.

Where can i get the 'FAC 51

Where can i get the 'FAC 51 HACIENDA' poster from that appeared in the 4th episode, 1st Feb? cannot find it anywhere :( but loving the series.

ah, you had to be there,

ah, you had to be there, mate.

Brilliant show brings back

Brilliant show brings back loads of memories as an ex stockport lad but were is the pub

where does the music come

where does the music come from ?

what is the music played on

what is the music played on Great Night Out the itv show

Great Night Out is a great

Great Night Out is a great night in. It reminds me a little of 'All Quiet on the Preston Front'. That comedy/drama was also superb. I think this reviewer should stick to 'Miranda'.
I think it's excellent... and i'm from Landahn tawhn!! Makes my friday night this. Funny series

"Some of the comedy is

"Some of the comedy is toe-curlingly lame", you say. So was Morecambe & Wise - but it was brilliant! You've over-analysed. It's top, lightweight fun, and it seems the country (south & north) loves it. Re-review please.

You obviously don't get the

You obviously don't get the message, everything doesn't have to be totally crude to be funny (which seems to be the usual formula) and hopefully this show will continue to prosper.

it's quirky and potty and

it's quirky and potty and clearly intended to be daft, that's why it makes one laugh one's draws off. Easy really. Sad if yer don't get it.

Me and my partner have

Me and my partner have watched this every week and we love it, the characters are really growing on us. Well written well acted and something we look forward to every week. Critics need to get a life and enjoy it for what it really is. Me and my mates are exactly like this.

Clearly written by someone

Clearly written by someone who hasn't spent a great deal of time outside the North. This comedy was only ever going to be popular with a select group of Northerners because most Southerners (and half Northerners) would have switched off within 10 minutes of the first episode due to cringeworthy gags and ridiculous stereotyping. Harsh but that is the truth if we dare to admit it.

So is everyone in the south

So is everyone in the south miserable? Because anyone who judges areas based on what they see on TV would clearly think that all Londoners don't know how to smile if they were using Deadenders as a yardstick. I'm not sad enough to watch soaps but at least northerners have a sense of humor.

Shame the pub they used is in

Shame the pub they used is in Battersea London & not actually in Stockport. If I watch a programme supposedly based in the north I want it to be filmed in the north.

So for this itv production

So for this itv production filmed largely on location you think they used a pub in Battersea? what's it called, I'm intrigued!!

Sometimes simple humour like

Sometimes simple humour like this is the funniest, and I agree it was good. Hope people give it a chance.

Really enjoyed it best thing

Really enjoyed it best thing ITV have done in a long time.Had a good chuckle all way through.Liked the Characters .Acting and writing I thought was very good.

Sounds like created by

Sounds like created by clueless media individuals to me. No-one here or in this town (I live next to Stockport County FC) boos Manchester signs. There's no rivalry between Manchester and Stockport whatsoever. Most people refer to Manchester as 'town'. And one of the guys is a media stereotype of a person that just doesn't exist and shouts 'I'm a media stereotype of a none existent kind'.

Maybe the critic was having a

Maybe the critic was having a bit of an off day. Maybe he'd just buried his hamster. Maybe his mother had shrunk his best pullover. Whatever the reason, I've come across more people who enjoyed this show than didn't. He is, in fact, the only one I've come across that didn't. More like this, please, it was great!

Our critic, Veronica Lee, is

Our critic, Veronica Lee, is not a "he". 

Sorry Veronica. I missed 1

Sorry Veronica. I missed 1 character off my review thus changing your sex. I'm amazed that Mr Sweeting felt the need to comment. Perhaps he should proof read the rest of the site...

Personally, I thought this

Personally, I thought this was better than average light entertainment. Good fun! And Christine Bottomley is gorgeous! What's not to like?

Are you serious? Call

Are you serious? Call yourself a critic..... This was a relly funny progam with some great comic moments. More please :-)

Yeah quite good stuff! Very

Yeah quite good stuff! Very funny at times -and the train scenes were very farcical but funny...lot better than Real-ity TV and Downton Soapey! I am a Stockport County fan too and some of the jokes were very good-I was an exta in the first episode -I can be seen in the opening credits when leaving the ground with Vernon Bear -we are all shaking our heads because we have lost 5-0 at home... Cant wait for episode 2 -Ricky Tomlinson very good too.

Hello!!! Were we watching the

Hello!!! Were we watching the same show? I watched it with a group of friends and we found it very, very funny. Who cares if some of the situations were far fetched, all the best farces are! Did you never watched an episode of Fawlty Towers? Great Night Out was funny from start to finish and the four mates take the mickey out of one another as real mates do but underneath they really care about each other. We loved it and can't wait to watch the rest. We are fed up of so called 'reality' shows so if this is not like real life then bring it I say!

yes totally agree it's brill

yes totally agree it's brill

You are comparing this weak

You are comparing this weak excuse for a 'comedy' with the great Fawlty Towers? Seriously??

Very good , loved every

Very good , loved every episode . The person who wrote this reviewed is in the wrong job . Anyway southerners don,t do comedy like us northaners .

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Use to create page breaks.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters