Thursday 4th May 2017
You either love Julia Davis or think her sick filth ought to be banned. Sally4Ever proved yet again that there is nobody working today - or at least nobody with the same platform - with a blacker sense of humour. Sally (Catherine Shepherd) was already surrounded by monsters: her loser of a boyfriend (Alex MacQueen) and tricky colleagues played by Julian Barratt and Felicity Montagu. Then Emma (Davis herself) arrived, a tornado of sex and bad intentions. Beneath the shagging, drugs, excrement, manipulation and malice were pockets of tenderness, but you had to look pretty hard to see them. Luckily there were also gales of laughter. NB If you have yet to see it, please do not watch it with your parents or children on Boxing Day and then write in to complain.Ed Cumming, The Independent, 18th December 2018
It has brought me back to the joys of TV comedy. It's a throwback to that agonising wait for each episode.Hannah Jane Parkinson, The Guardian, 8th December 2018
The triumphantly grotesque return of Julia Davis, now backed - slightly bizarrely - by HBO. This co-production between the US network and Sky is a Basic Instinct-tinged tale of an affair between a wife-to-be and a mysterious musician, featuring defiantly off-colour gags, a decidedly post-watershed sexathon and some very odd jokes about eggs. Plus Julian Barratt!The Guardian, 19th October 2018
Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker's prophetic Channel 4 sitcom skewered east London hipster culture to a tee through its odious protagonist, a self-proclaimed "self-facilitating media node" and purveyor of witless viral videos via his website TrashBat.co.ck (registered in the Cook Islands).
But the show's true concern was the plight of depressed journalist Dan Ashcroft (Julian Barrett), surviving unhappily in the offices of Sugar Ape, too ill-motivated and sickened by the buffoons around him to better himself. His article "Rise of the Idiots", in which he takes his tormentors to task, only makes matters worse, proving a hit and seeing him hailed as "Preacher Man" by the same fools he sought to destroy.
His sister Claire (Claire Keelan), an aspiring and idealistic documentarian, is similarly thwarted by Barley and his kind.
Ashcroft's failed interview at The Sunday Times, where he humiliates himself by stating a preference for "Dutch wine", is excruciating and made worse by his having to return contrite to Hosegate to retract his resignation from Charlie Condou's withering editor, Jonathan Yeah? (the question mark added by deed poll), who gloats deliciously.Joe Sommerlad, The Independent, 6th September 2018
"He's trying to wrestle with his new equanimity, a new peace of mind," says Julian Barratt of Maurice, the melancholic children's author he plays in Channel 4's cult comedy-drama, Flowers, which returned for a second series earlier this month. "But, really, it's catching up with him. It's catching up with all of them."Lily Pearson, The Independent, 25th June 2018
Flowers returned for a second one-off, glorious, maddening week (all six episodes shown on consecutive evenings). First shown over a similar week in 2016, it is, if you remember - and if you watched it back then, you will - an exceedingly quirky week in the company of the Flowers clan, with a dank underbelly of quietly desperate depression. It is almost indefinable, certainly impossible to shoehorn into any known genre - but it's constantly and crazily inspired, inventive, gloomily funny. It will drive some people to dark places. It will drive some people to reach for the off button.
This outing was even odder, and even better. Julian Barratt and Olivia Colman excel as a depressed children's writer and his increasingly estranged wife, who is struggling to remember what she's for, apart from caustic disillusionment, which allows her to come out with some winningly cruel lines. After Barratt has mused again on his "major depressive disorder", she snaps: "Oh, just call it depression, Maurice. It's not a Nobel prize."
But they are relatively in the shadows as regards their children, the unimaginative failure Donald and his sis Amy, who was struck by lightning last time round. Daniel Rigby and Sophia Di Martino are sublime in their characters, with Amy hard to watch as she descends - via some crackling lines ("At least I don't have to watch you piss your scent all over the moral high ground like some demented incontinent barn animal") - to febrile madness.
As to what it's about, apart from Amy's visions of cursed German ancestors... I think it was, in the end, about something rather serious happening to Shun, the Japanese houseboy/illustrator played by Will Sharpe, the writer/creator, and himself bipolar. But I can't be sure. And I only think this because, after Shun was left contemplating, with quickening melancholy, a tall tree in the penultimate episode, the entire last one was a series of his flashbacks to his first few days in the Flowers household - a joyous, flowery, celebration of a loopy, tangled, untidy English family in the English countryside, all dusk and drink and beauty and looming shadow. As I say, indefinable, but sometimes indefinably lovely. And a brave recommission from C4, with brave issues tackled.Euan Ferguson, The Guardian, 17th June 2018
Fiercely imaginative and emotionally truthfulBen Lawrence, The Telegraph, 15th June 2018