Last night saw the first episode of the BBC’s new sitcom Life of Riley in which Caroline Quentin starred as Maddy alongside Neil Dudgeon as her husband Jim. The programme’s blurb said, “Maddy’s just got married again. And she’s about to find out what happens when two families collide.
“Suddenly she finds herself presiding over a modern-day extended family: children, step-children, step-siblings and half-siblings, with a few ex-partners and in-laws thrown in.
“Maddy is like Roseanne but thinner, like Seinfeld but with dirtier trainers, like Victor Meldrew – but she does believe it.”
With regard to the last sentence of that blurb, I beg to differ on all counts because the comparable characters were all funny and Maddy simply wasn’t…
None of it was. It was predictable and at best, smile-worthy and only then if you’d had a few glasses of wine and were feeling generous. It really wasn’t funny at all and anyone who’d recently had an appendectomy was in no danger of ripping any stitches.
I’m afraid Caroline Quentin is wasted in this role. She was fantastically funny as Dorothy in Men Behaving Badly but as Maddy, nada, zip, nil point. I have to say, if I’m going to apportion blame then it would have to be aimed at the writer of the show, Georgia Pritchett. As a book, this would probably be quite funny but as a sitcom, it just didn’t work.
Comedy actors can of course kill a good script if they don’t have comedic timing and screen presence but we know that Caroline does, so if at the end of the day the lines she was given aren’t up to it, well, that’s that.
The children of the family, Katy, Danny and Ted weren’t at all believable or amusing. Everything everyone said was trite and I felt that this was a My Family remake with a twist, the twist being the Riley’s are a step-family.
My Family turned to absolute manure after the first couple of series and really should’ve been taken off our screens so I can only hope that Life of Riley is allowed to die a death and be quietly buried after its current run of six episodes.
It would be a scandalous waste of license payer’s money to re-commission it.
What did you think of it?