Funny Woman review: This new Sky show about a Blackpool beauty queen will leave you feeling confused
I can’t make my mind up about Funny Woman (Sky Max, Thurs, 9pm), the new 60s-set show about a young Blackpool lass trying to make it in the bright lights and dark corners of swinging London.
Mainly because Funny Woman couldn’t make its own mind up about what it wanted to be. Was it a culture-clash comedy about naive young beauty queen Barbara (Gemma Arterton) coming down from Blackpool, astounding Londoners with her ‘funny’ accent and shaking them up with her blunt northern ways?
Or was it a darker drama about misogyny, the power imbalance between men and women and outdated attitude which still persist today?
It wanted to have its comedy cake and eat it too, with a side order of grit.
There’s a broadly comedic turn from Rupert Everett as Barbara’s spectacularly seedy agent, Brian Debenham, all thinning combover and beer barrel belly, but most of the characters are stereotypes straight out of a Carry On.
Meanwhile, for someone supposedly brimming with natural northern comedy, Barbara isn’t given many funny lines, although Arterton delivers them with a huge dose of charm.
Every so often, it lurches into darker places, as various upper class types take advantage of Barbara’s good nature, wanting something she’s unwilling to give.
It doesn’t look great either, with Barbara taking taxi rides against a film backdrop of London’s neon-lit streets, while exterior shots seem to have been filmed in the one street which still looks period.
Not really comedic, not really dramatic, Funny Woman leaves you confused.
And so, Happy Valley (BBC1, Sun, 9pm) has come to an end after three series of blunt Yorkshire chat and several petrol-related incidents. This low-key finale emphasised the drama that can be found in the home and family, rather than in drug lords and shootings, and was all the better for it. A perfect send-off for a memorable drama.
Consent (Channel 4, Tues, 10pm) was a disturbing drama which illustrates the power of peer pressure and social media on today’s teenagers. Not exactly subtle, it made its points hit home with a terrific young cast and a fact-based script which should leave every parent of teenage boys perturbed.