As part of BBC’s Grey Expectations – you see what they did there? Class – season of programmes about aging, the second part of Getting On was every bit as brilliant as the first episode.
On the geriatric ward, chaos is barely contained by Den and Kim – Joanna Scanlon and Jo Brand respectively – but last night, they had a male on their all female ward and Dr Pippa Moore – played by Vicki Pepperdine with utter believability – wasn’t happy…
“There’s the masturbation factor…” she told Sister Den, but Den pointed out the fact that as the young man had both arms in plaster attached to a frame, that probably wasn’t going to be an issue.
The writing of this show is awesome; dark, funny, satirical and incredibly relatable, it absolutely deserves a shed full of awards for Brand, Pepperdine and Scanlon who wrote it and of course, act the main parts.
All three of them are totally convincing in their roles and rib achingly funny. For instance, when manic depressive Ivy was brought onto the ward following a head injury, she soon displayed a plethora of unpleasant characteristics. She called Kim a “fat lezzer” to which she replied, “Well I’m fat but I’m not a lezzer”.
Ivy continued to cause trouble and badly wanted a cig, so she lit up in the ward causing Den, Kim and Matron Hilary Loftus to try to rugby tackle the fag away from her. Kim got in a crafty drag but Ivy picked up a Lucozade bottle and brandished it menacingly.
“She’s going to bottle us!” yelled a panicked Den. Brilliant.
And Hilary had previously had a disturbing encounter with Ivy who’d been vile to him, causing him to need a “time out”. She’d apparently sent his “rage gauge” to 23.
Dr Moore meanwhile found that her precious faecal samples from the 22nd and the 23rd had gone missing and she squarely blamed Den who insisted she’d sent the samples to the lab. No need to panic though, the samples turned up in haematology.
It’s these little touches which reflect the very real events on wards all over the country that make this show absolutely hilarious. And the dry wit just adds to the overall effect. One of my favourite scenes from last night was when Dr Moore was asking Kim if she had any kids…
“Yeah, five” she replied.
“Really? Do they play anything? Any musical…” Dr Moore said.
“Truant mostly” said Kim in classic Brand dead pan mode.
As ever, describing comedy doesn’t do it justice; you need to hear it and see it in context to appreciate the subtlety and the nuances of facial expressions to fully realise its genius. And while I know genius is perhaps a strong word, I really think it’s warranted in Getting On and why Aunty Beeb has relegated it to BBC4 instead of prime time on BBC1 I really don’t understand.
If you’ve missed the show so far, you would be doing yourself a real favour to catch up with it on iPlayer. And for anyone who’s ever worked in a hospital or even been in one, you’ll instantly recognise the characters and be able to say “I know someone exactly like that!”
It’s an absolute joy; I just wish each episode lasted a lot longer.