Getting On - In The Press

HBO has renewed the comedy Getting On for a second season.

TV Wise, 19th February 2014

As Americans debate Obamacare and aging baby boomers plan their twilight years, the show highlights an essential labor force and a senior demographic mostly absent from primetime TV.

Written by E. Tammy Kim. Al Jazeera America, 29th December 2013

The US version of Getting On will premiere on November 24th at 10pm on HBO.

The Jane Dough, 11th September 2013

The American remake of Getting On is looking 'fantastic' according to the original show's writer and star Joanna Scanlan.

Metro, 7th March 2013

Show of the year - Getting On. The third run of writer-star trio Jo Brand, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine's BBC4 series set in an NHS hospital was quite simply the best piece of British small-screen fiction in years. Branching out even further from its notional sitcom roots, it administered shots of high farce, occupational satire, metaphysical meditation and excruciating realism. I refuse to accept that Pepperdine's Dr Pippa Moore is not, at this moment, wafting through some overstretched ward, offering supercilious side smiles to confused geriatrics.

Hugh Montgomery, The Independent on Sunday, 30th December 2012

The definition of a slow-burn hit, this diffident black comedy picked up another armful of admirers with its third series - at this rate it'll sweep the 2017 Baftas. Life on the geriatric NHS ward staffed by nurses Den (Joanna Scanlan) and Kim (Jo Brand) and plagued by sniffy consultant Pippa (Vicki Pepperdine) was much the same. It was slightly worsened by increased outsourcing and management-speak but was still a case of making do, looking for small victories and, in the moments that give the series its tender heart, remembering that easing patients' pain is the point. Scanlan, Brand and Pepperdine's acting and writing was more assured then ever, with nicely woven story arcs never taking away the best thing about the series: it lets its realistic, ragged characters breathe.

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 26th December 2012

The co-creator of BBC4's hit hospital comedy series on the art of simple humour and dog training.

Written by Ursula Kenny. The Guardian, 22nd December 2012

Quietly brilliant and deserving of a lot more noise, Jo Brand, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine's hospital comedy has explored the intersection between what's funny and what's heartbreaking without any self-regard or fuss.

Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 22nd December 2012

Roseanne's Laurie Metcalf, Family Guy's Alex Borstein and Reno 911's Niecy Nash are checking into Getting On, HBO's medical comedy pilot.

Written by Michael Ausiello. TV Line, 27th November 2012

A obvious triumph for BBC4's understated cleverness, increasingly celebrated as the superb third series developed, was Getting On, which ended its run on Wednesday. Jo Brand, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine write and act this comedy, set in a women-only geriatric hospital ward. It's a masterclass in letting your creations breathe.

The main characters are all female, something that hardly ever happens on television but is never emphasised. This series acknowledged the accelerating privatisation of the health service, but wove it into Pepperdine's ace portrayal of the antagonist Dr Moore, a brittle snob who uses her sharp elbows to nurse her own reputation and sees patients as stock to be processed - or, in series three, potential subjects for her photographic study of vaginal atrophy in the elderly.

Dr Moore's desire for profitable efficiency is constantly undermined by grubby reality in the form of Den and Kim, the ward sister and nurse who have to dish out the drugs, shuffle the beds and "wipe the bums". Scanlan's Den is a jumble of kindness, daydreams, delusion and loneliness whose pregnancy this year made her even more distracted and vulnerable - but Kim is our eyes and heart, thanks to Brand's selfless performance.

Getting On gives Kim no comic traits apart from weary bluntness and a drab home life, hinted at in phone calls about running out of fish fingers and ketchup. While the funny, absurd stuff was happening to Pepperdine and Scanlan, Brand represented the show's frustrated compassion, buffeted by bureaucratic idiocy and often disobeying orders to do little favours for the patients or avoid another dirty, pointless task.

Kim's attempt to become a doctor was crushed in mundane fashion: she didn't have the time or ability to pass the relevant course. The last episode had emotional pay-offs for Dr Moore and Den, earnt through careful but unobtrusive series-long plotting, that gave the characters new depth. Kim just bumbled off home as usual but, BBC4 budgets willing, she'll be back to win more tiny victories against depressing odds.

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 24th November 2012

BBC4's acclaimed but little-watched hospital sitcom is quietly groundbreaking in its portrayals of women, age and the NHS. And it's very, very funny

Written by Deborah Orr. The Guardian, 23rd November 2012

The end of visiting hours is upon us as this perfect, bittersweet hospital drama reaches the end of its run. The personal lives of Kim, Den and Pippa criss cross with life and death on the wards, where there's a surprise appearance - a silent cameo from Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, followed up by Hugh Bonneville as Pippa's ex. It seems everyone wants in on Getting On.

Metro, 21st November 2012

Considering it's such a bleakly intimate comedy, Getting On attracts glittery attention. It's a favourite of Mad Men's Jon Hamm and, in the final episode, Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton has a wordless cameo as the assistant to a preposterously pretentious artist.

Swinton, barely recognisable with black hair, turns up on K2 ward with a bunch of kids doing an art project. Their teacher is a ludicrous bearded German who announces to his little group, "All human interraction is social sculpture." He then insists they pester the old ladies, adding, "Bodily fluids can also be part of the creative process", when one worries about her wee.

It's a lovely valedictory episode - hugely funny in parts, but brushed with sadness in others.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 21st November 2012

Honest, warm and human, Getting On's wry dramatisation of the inefficiences of the NHS is as clever as it is funny; the script is a credit to Jo Brand, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine. In the series finale, a group of schoolchildren arrives at the geriatric ward to sketch images of the patients and Sister Den (Scanlan) is sceptical: "Most are doolally, deaf or asleep. Good luck to them." Watch for cameo appearances by Hugh Bonneville and Tilda Swinton.

Simon Horsford, The Daily Telegraph, 20th November 2012

Tilda Swinton and her real-life partner Sandro Kopp cameo tonight; he plays art teacher Dylan Shwarz while she's his mute assistant Elke. "All human interaction is social sculpture," Shwarz tells his band of schoolkids, who must make artworks based on tales the patients tell them. "Well, they're all doolally, deaf or asleep, so good luck to you," retorts Den - who's in for a surprise later. Last in the sublime series, and therefore the last time Richard Hawley croons that lovely song over the credits - at least for now.

Andrew Mueller, The Guardian, 19th November 2012

BBC4's perfectly pitched medical comedy continues to impress with finely observed, natural performances from Jo Brand and a talented cast.

Written by Julia Raeside. The Guardian, 14th November 2012

Getting On doesn't heave with belly laughs, it's more about smiling in pained recognition at the small things about life and death and the NHS. But there's a proper gut-buster of a gag on K2 ward tonight involving a Christmas card competition among hospital staff for the kids' oncology ward and an unfortunate guinea pig on the terrible Dr Moore's icky pet project.

Moore (Vicki Pepperdine) is at her tin-eared worst when she tries to save her skin and later when she has to break some bad news. The woman is barely on nodding acquaintance with compassion and, as usual, she has to leave the tenderness to others. Well, I say "tenderness", but in the case of wily Sister Den (Joanna Scanlan) it's more a case of revising history.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 14th November 2012

Gallows humour must be part of working in a hospital, but it's testament to the quality of Getting On that more of the comedy derives from the characters than their particular situation. In tonight's episode, the mood is mixed in the ward. Kim (Jo Brand) is on the verge of chucking in her degree course, while Den is buoyant thanks to her pregnancy and recent romantic trip to Norway. When the pediatric oncology unit has a Christmas card competition, however, a submission from the ward threatens to set off a data protection landmine that the terrifying Megan takes upon herself to defuse.

Julia Raeside, The Guardian, 12th November 2012

Another day on the ward sees another probing of the divide between the beating heart of the NHS and its bureaucracy. Emotions are running high: Kim is trying to give up smoking while dealing with an ill mother-in-law; Pippa takes legal advice about her divorce from a cleaner; and Den seems to be short for "Denial" as the fun-loving sister struggles with the prospect of motherhood.

Everything is underplayed but the haywire Pippa can always raise a chuckle, while the jargon of "modern matron" Demaris - "pushing the envelope of care a little further" - are finely turned pieces of nonsense.

David Crawford, The Radio Times, 7th November 2012

Getting On (Wednesday, BBC Four), an understated comedy set in a drab NHS ward is luckily still going. It is telling that there is a Thick of It connection, with Peter Capaldi directing early episodes. It stars, and is written by, Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine and Joanna Scanlan (another stalwart from The Thick of It).

I love the washed-out almost monochrome palette, the wobbly camera work, the avoidance of a laughter track, the naturalistic dialogue.

In the latest episode earnest, politically correct former Matron turned Business Consultant Hilary Loftus (Ricky Grover) was on fine form making sure all electrical appliances were turned off as part of a new green initiative. If you have had any experience of the NHS you will appreciate that this is depressingly well observed.

Nigel Farndale, The Sunday Telegraph, 4th November 2012

Getting On is a minor masterpiece of a hospital comedy that truly deserves a wider audience.

This week, the staff were grappling with a green initiative cascading down from on high but it was Sister Den's story that caused cardiac arrest as she struggled with her pregnancy.

Joanna Scanlan, who also plays the 'blockage' known as Terri in Armando Iannucci's top-drawer political satire The Thick Of It, is an unsung heroine of British comedy.

Keith Watson, Metro, 1st November 2012

Nurse Kim and Sister Den (Jo Brand and Joanna Scanlan) attend a grim hospital meeting led by the perky Damaris designed to "cascade down" the hospital's energy-saving initiative.

Its leading exponent is lugubrious Mr Loftus, who makes it his business to empty rubbish into the correct bags and check that Ward K2 isn't wasting power now it has a meter. "We will be recording in ohms and wattage," he announces, pointlessly.

Thus Getting On gives us another perfectly bleak vignette, poking a stick at the rattling absurdities of health service bureaucracy. It doesn't shout messages, it's about the small things, and it's full of heart and humanity.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 31st October 2012

'I think I'd better go and supervise Mario Testino,' says ward sister Den, when a scared-looking student doctor is tasked with taking research snaps of old ladies' nether regions. Getting On has always been a cut above most comedies: it's about something; it has proper characters; it dares not to make jokes sometimes; it looks good. As it reaches the halfway point in its third series, it shows no sign of flagging; rather, it feels like it is relaxing into its own assuredness. If its social commentary sometimes feels a bit heavy-handed (consultant Pippa gets legal advice from a black contract cleaner in a corridor), it's surely forgivable in a comedy that genuinely has something to say about humanity and humour, and has found a way to say it. The only dark spot on its lung is the danger of it slipping into soap opera, still the number one killer of UK comedies.

Chris Waywell, Time Out, 31st October 2012

A blend of truth and razor-sharp wit is the defining feature of Getting On, the wonderful mockumentary set in a geriatric ward. Written by Jo Brand, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine, the extended series three continues as Nurse Kim Wilde (Brand) tries to find a mentor for a training module and Dr Pippa Moore (Pepperdine) deals with the financial shenanigans of her husband. Kim, Pippa and Den (Scanlan) also battle with the latest rules on cost effectiveness implemented by the jargon-spouting Hilary Loftus (Ricky Grover).

Simon Horsford, The Daily Telegraph, 30th October 2012

There's indecipherable streamlining going on at St Jude's, as the staff get "cascade training" - laden with meaningless buzzwords - from Damaris on saving energy and the new colour-coded (but not quite colour-coded enough) bags for the unspeakable waste that exudes from the wards. It's just what Den needs now that hypochondriac patient Mrs Dethick is back, and her pregnancy is beginning to weigh heavy. Meanwhile, Hilary is pinballing about the ward turning lights off. As ever, Jo Brand, Ricky Grover and Joanna Scanlan are pitch-perfect.

Ben Arnold, The Guardian, 29th October 2012

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