It's the kind of TV series where if it helps just one person come to terms with a similar condition then of course it has value, and there are a few other positive aspects to it as certainly the young cast are all superb and a few of the jokes land. But most of the time it's a bit on the nose, a bit by the numbers, offering very little insight in to how someone might react in such a situation (well, apart from "Reasonably badly") and the tackier sex related elements are painfully unoriginal.Alex Finch, Comedy To Watch, 24th March 2020
Tonight's second episode of London Irish begins in the hazy aftermath of a wedding party. Sinead Keenan's Bronagh has woken up to find a small boy in her bed. 'We didn't?' she gasps. 'Did we?' Try cracking that gag with the gender roles reversed.
As you might have gathered, London Irish makes a virtue of pushing its luck. Whether it's more than just Two Pints of Lager... with a Parental Advisory sticker worn as a badge of honour remains to be seen. But is it worth sticking around to find out? Actually, you could do worse. What saves London Irish is the chemistry of the cast: twentysomething London caners have been done to death, but there's a charm to the lead quartet that makes this slip down pretty easily.Phil Harrison, Time Out, 1st October 2013
This was comedy with the broadest of brushstrokes, no doubt annoying Irish people everywhere with its portrayal of expats (current pats, surely?) who seem to spend 90% of their time in the pub.
Sadly, the broadness killed off many of the laughs and if nothing in particular was working, writer Lisa McGee just resorted to packing in as much swearing as she could in a vain hope that people find the repetitive use of a certain four letter c-word hilarious. She's so wrong on that score.
Half way through I realised that this was a sitcom with a basic family set-up. Peter Campion's character Packy was the best thing in it, the most sensible of the quartet of main characters, and essentially the leader and father figure. But the others were so broadly drawn that I just didn't care about them. Niamh (Kat Reagen) was up for drugs and sex and that was about it, while Bronagh (Sinead Keenan) was so bad-tempered and foul-mouthed across the entire half-hour that you wondered why anyone in their right mind would want to spend any time with her at all.
Worse than that was Conor (Kerr Logan), who was obviously there as the silly Father Dougal comedy relief. But Father Dougal worked because he was a likeable, childlike buffoon, and the whole Father Ted world was an exaggerated fantasy land anyway. But a character like that doesn't really work in a realistic show set in a genuine part of London, so instead of innocence and silliness, he unfortunately came across as borderline care in the community.
I know several Irish people here in London, and not one of them is anything like the hard-drinking, anti-English, 'big ticko Paddy' stereotypes that were on offer here. If I can chuck a few stereotypes in myself, all that was missing were some dodgy builders and that annoying bunch of brothers playing their guitars in that sausage advert.
It's a big fail for Channel 4 - it's having a tough time of it at the moment and laugh-free dross like this isn't going to help.TV Jam, 25th September 2013
The first episode of brand new Channel 4 sitcom London Irish opened and closed with the four twentysomething Northern Irish expat protagonists getting bladdered in the pub. That's right, writer Lisa McGee (a Londonderry woman herself) isn't afraid to confront those national stereotypes head on. This would also explain the scene riffing on a certain budget airline's baggage policy, and the cameo from Father Ted's Ardal O'Hanlon.
It was sweet of Mr O'Hanlon to bestow on this fledgling show the blessing of the Irish sitcom elders, but if the ultimate aim was to fool us into thinking London Irish owes something to Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthew's work, the ruse failed. As with any sitcom about a mixed-gender group of twentysomethings made at any time since 1994, it's to Friends that London Irish must pay reluctant tribute.
This weight of influence bears down heaviest of all on Kat Reagan, whose character Niamh is a mildly irritating kook in the tradition of Phoebe Buffay. Television doesn't need any more mildly irritating kooks - Zooey Deschanel in E4's New Girl has seen to that - so the angry, sweary, pathologically stingy Bronagh (Sinéad Keenan) was a particularly welcome foil. Ostensibly, there were also two male leads, the garrulous Packy (Peter Campion) and childlike dreamer Conor, but McGee's script betrays her obvious preference for writing female characters and they barely got a look in.
It may be unchivalrous to note it, but, at 35, Keenan is knocking on a bit for a role as studenty as this. It's testament to her energy and talent, then, that her performance was so enjoyable, regardless. Bronagh's righteous indignation at the one-handed man who failed to inform her of his missing appendage before they had a drunken "ride" at a party was easily the best thing in this opening episode.
It's also the strongest hint that McGee's writing might be ballsy enough to eventually transcend the over-familiar setup. If you must make yet another sitcom about the messy social lives of twentysomethings, the Nineties institution on which to model it is not mushy Friends but misanthropic Seinfeld. Might the characters of London Irish all turn out to be shallow, sex-obsessed reprobates with no moral compass to speak of? We can but hope.Ellen E. Jones, The Independent, 25th September 2013
Over on Channel 4, rather later after the watershed for reasons that became quickly obvious, London Irish (***) started another six-week residency. The sitcom, about four Northern Irish twentysomethings living in the UK capital, is created and written by Derryite Lisa McGee. The foursome are sister and brother Bronagh (Sinead Keenan) and Conor (Kerr Logan), who share a flat with Packy (Peter Campion) and Niamh (Kat Reagan). Packy is a slacker, Niamh is a nympho, and has a jailbird boyfriend who bores her but whom she keeps in contact with "for a ride", while Bronagh has range of fruity insults for her dim brother, including "dickswab" and "fucktard".
They are part of a generation mercifully untouched by terrorism, so instead of brooding about the stereotypes of politics, religion and history, they can get on with living up to the, er, stereotypes of drinking too much, having lots of sex and and swearing like navvies. I think there's a joke in there somewhere, but McGee doesn't upend the tired tropes to make them funny.
Last night's story concerned Packy bumping into Ryan (Ciaran Nolan) from back home, who lost his hand while covering a shift in a garage for him, when he was shot in a hold-up. Packy organises a charity quiz - "like an exam in a pub" - at the foursome's local to raise funds for Ryan's new robotic hand. Cue lots of rather weak jokes about not him being able to clap or going to a fancy-dress party as Captain Hook - Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's one-legged actor auditioning for Tarzan it was most definitely not.
The opener was a bit frantic and unfocused, and the actors are all a little too shouty - always a bad sign in a comedy - and, despite some smart lines and the welcome presence of Ardal O'Hanlon as Bronagh and Conor's Da back home, it will have to improve swiftly to gain a dedicated following.Veronica Lee, The Arts Desk, 24th September 2013
Sampling a new cocktail is a moment of intense trepidation - will the sometimes random ingredients work together? Such concerns arise with C4's latest binge-com, especially as it comes so soon after Big Bad World, which tried and failed with the culture-clash format. Judging by screenwriter Lisa McGee's debut series however, the mix of flavours is both potent and promising.
We're introduced to four mates - led by Being Humans' Sinead Keenan as the hilariously fiery Bronagh - making their way through a succession of booze-fuelled nights, taking pops at British society as they go. The otherwise-unknown ensemble works superbly, with a charming dynamic impressively reminiscent of The Inbetweeners as they consider everything from alcoholism to amputees.
London Irish is a controlled drinker, loose enough to indulge in risqué laughs yet sober enough to know when the joke goes too far. That's a rare combination, and makes for a far more appetising brew than its competitors.Tom Buxton, Time Out, 24th September 2013
The series opener of a rough-and-ready six-part comedy following four brash, hard-drinking Irish twentysomethings living in London. Packy (new face Peter Campion) bumps into Ryan, an ex-colleague who lost a hand in a shooting. When it transpires that there's more to the story, however, a guilty Packy hosts a pub quiz in aid of the latter's bionic hand. Meanwhile, memories of a fancy-dress fumble come back to haunt Bronagh (Being Human's Sinead Keenan). Tune in for laughs of the very un-PC kind.Hannah J Davies, The Guardian, 24th September 2013