Roger and Val Have Just Got In, BBC Two | TV reviews, news & interviews
Roger and Val Have Just Got In, BBC Two
Return of the acutely observed lo-fi comedy about a long-married couple
It's a brave sitcom writer who dares to write a bleakly comic drama, without canned laughter, in which nothing very much happens and where a long-married couple natter away about the mundane details of their lives in the half-hour after they come home from work. But twin sisters Emma and Beth Kilcoyne have done just that, and the result, Roger and Val Have Just Got In, is a thing of quiet beauty.
It debuted on BBC Two in 2010 and, given little fanfare by the corporation, still gained a solid and devoted following, instantly hooked on this delicately woven story about Roger and Val (Alfred Molina and Dawn French). In the first series, as they wittered on about what they had for lunch, the staffroom politics at Val's school, where she is a cookery - or rather food tech - teacher, and the customers in the garden centre where Roger works, we slowly realised there was something missing from their story. As infinitely detailed and neatly dovetailed their conversations were, they were endlessly trivial.
She could take the pressure because, as she said, not everyone can cook a Sunday roast
And while the action moved from kitchen to sitting room to bathroom to bedroom, the door to the spare room remained closed. It was only when we finally entered this room, in episode four of six, that we knew this was a couple caught in a co-dependency of shared grief, where the minutiae of life were discussed in detail but the big issues of pain and bereavement were left unsaid. I shall not easily forget the episode's closing shot of a lampshade decorated with stars and rockets, and with it the realisation that this was a nursery that had never had an occupant - Roger and Val's baby son who, we later learned, had died 18 years before.
The second series, which started last night, took up the story where the first left off. Roger is still fighting his unfair dismissal at a tribunal, and Val has applied to become deputy head. They had just come home from a family wedding and a minor argument had started that morning over a bad smell left by Roger in the hotel bathroom, meaning that Val hadn't been able to make full use of the complimentary smellies - ”I'm just saying, Roger, that I would have liked a bath..." It had clearly been revisited several times on their long car journey home.
Share this article
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?
Jack Thorne's latest is a gripping whodunit set in the English countryside
Anodyne biog sanitises showbusiness legend
Gripping final episode, but is the very existence of 'The Village' threatened?
Andrew Graham-Dixon begins an excellent trilogy about World War One artists with Paul Nash
Final season opener suffers from sensory overload
The complexities of the Middle East rehashed as slick TV drama
'Nowt as queer as folk': Matt Rudge ventures into the wilder reaches of taxidermy
James Rhodes gets music education moving. The M6 remains at a standstill
No time for deep breaths as baby drama reaches a suitably eventful conclusion
Revelation of early Swedish woman artist opened magpie survey of abstract art
Tradit Tory or true revolutionary? Alastair Sooke ponders John Constable's heritage ahead of major V&A exhibition
Infomercial about arts training looks set to be distinctly undramatic