What a pedigree Kate & Koji appeared to have. Co-stars in Brenda Blethyn and Jimmy Akingbola, written by Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton (Drop The Dead Donkey, Outnumbered), and a bonkers-but-might-work premise about an asylum-seeking African doctor setting up a temporary surgery in a seaside caff in exchange for square meals from the reactionary biddy of an owner.
My, it's grim, and what were you at all thinking, our sainted Auntie Vera? There are jokes about 70s TV detectives, oat milk, newfangled "podcasts". One running gag is that everyone looks to their phones after the microwave pings. It is amusing precisely once. At one stage Kate (Blethyn) reprimands Koji (Akingbola) for getting pedantic about apostrophes with "all right Doc, no need to go all Rees-Mogg on us!", as if one had to go to Eton (because it's posh, see!) in order to have an outside chance of grasping the basics of the English language: it's that kind of lowest-com-denom writing. Utterly unhelped - in fact, hog-tied at the knees - by a canned laughter track that gives it not just the content but the feel of something that could have surfaced a full 30 years ago. There's even a rival - snobby - interfering councillor in the shape of Barbara Flynn.
It's not unsalvageable. There's a (slight) warmth to be had in Kate's unthawing towards the 21st Century, her refreshing lack of the old prejudices. Some gags show spark, but you don't even get to enjoy the spark, already tensing at the collective awfulness of the wave of laughter that you know is bound to tsunami in.Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 22nd March 2020
Kate & Koji is funny - and funny enough to make me snort with laughter. The script is well-honed by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, who wrote Outnumbered. But what raises this show far above the ordinary are the performances by Brenda Blethyn and Jimmy Akingbola as the title characters.Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail, 19th March 2020
Whisper it, but ITV could just have created that rarest of creatures - a mainstream sitcom that's constantly funny; deserving of critical praise as well as strong audiences.Steve Bennett, Chortle, 18th March 2020
Although from very different worlds, it's soon evident they share similar traits, including a dogged determination to never back down.The Herald, 14th March 2020