More gentle ups and downs in Matlock. Terry (Brendan Coyle) is getting high blood pressure from his building project, while his wife Jan (Lesley Sharp) is further enchanted by her creative writing class, and its sensitive but hunky teacher (Vincent Regan). Meanwhile, Bell (Rebecca Night) clashes, in some nicely timed scenes, with her fussy mother-in-law-to-be (Jaye Griffiths).
Matt King (Super Hans) and Steve Edge write another series of their gentle, Derbyshire-set family drama starring Lesley Sharp and Brendan Coyle. Mr and Mrs Starling navigate the gently lapping waters of marriage while he continues with his building work and she takes a creative writing course taught by a total hornbag (Vincent Regan) who is definitely going to start pestering her for sex. Meanwhile, Charlie hurts her foot, Gravy digs up some treasure and Reuben has an important question for Bell. Dead cute.Julia Raeside, The Guardian, 2nd July 2013
Gently understated and truthful, Matt King and Steve Edge's series has been frequently delightful. The season draws to a close with Grandad (Alan Williams) getting a shock during a visit from an old friend. Elsewhere the-will-they-won't-they relationship between Reuben (Ukweli Roach) and Bell (Rebecca Night) takes yet another turn thanks to the intervention of Terry (Brendan Coyle), and Fergie (Edge) makes a surprise announcement to Loz (King) during a drawing class.Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 29th June 2012
In tonight's episode of the clean-cut, sweet-natured comedy - think of it as the Larkins in Derbyshire - Loz (Matt King) and Fergie (Steve Edge) fall out over Loz's new girlfriend (Dolly Wells), Bell (Rebecca Night) and Reuben (Ukweli Roach) see a counsellor and Charlie (Finn Atkins) is offered a trial at Derby County much to the delight of her father (Brendan Coyle), who spots a chance to meet a former hero.Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 22nd June 2012
An "everyone goes on holiday" episode, which, like a lot of holidays, is meant to freshen people up but mostly makes their flaws more stark. Terry and Jan (Brendan Coyle and Lesley Sharp) have a break at home alone for their anniversary - an excuse for soppy nostalgia if they didn't already go in for that every week.
Reuben and Bell are at a spa to try to overcome their weirdly trivial relationship problem, despite Bel's annoying intransigence. Everyone else goes "wild camping" with Fergie, disastrously. That's by far the most entertaining strand but, as ever, even the cheesy bits are lifted by the superb cast. As Reuben, Ukweli Roach is particularly skilled at drawing laughs and pathos from a limited role.Jack Seale, Radio Times, 17th June 2012
The sweet nature of Starlings is proving infectious thanks to an endearingly observant script by writers Matt King and Steve Edge. Tomboy Charlie (Finn Atkins) joins dad Terry (Brendan Coyle) in the family business, Reuben (Ukweli Roach) begins a new job in spite of interference by Fergie (Edge), and Uncle Lodz (King) gets a shock at his first art show.Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 18th May 2012
Starlings is a slow-moving but sweet-natured comedy-drama series about four generations living beneath the same modestly sized roof in Matlock, Derbyshire. Lesley Sharp and Brendan Coyle are the show's solidly dependable stars.
The series commences with the home birth of baby Zac, who not only gets the series off to a suitably dramatic start but provides the writers with a nifty plot device whereby granddad introduces him - and us - to the rest of the family in turn.
The characters are engaging, the relationships between them interesting and the script consistently amusing. Mercifully, eccentricity is kept to a minimum and the plot lines have a reasonably firm hold on the recognisably real.
Apart from Zac's arrival not a lot happens, and what does happen takes its time about it. However, an hour in the company of the Starlings passes pleasantly enough, and there are enough hints at darker plot developments ahead to keep my interest for the foreseeable future.