British Comedy Guide

Heading Out. Sara Ford (Sue Perkins). Copyright: Red Production Company / Square Peg TV.

Heading Out

BBC Two sitcom. 6 episodes (1 series) in 2013. Stars Sue Perkins, Joanna Scanlan, Nicola Walker, Dominic Coleman, Shelley Conn and Steve Oram.

Press Clippings

Hardly anyone likes Heading Out, it's been kicked to death then dumped in a shallow grave by audiences and critics, so it's perverse to make it recommended viewing. Except I like it. I know it's as annoying and stupid as everyone says it is. But it's harmless and it doesn't try to be novel or pioneering, and I've laughed at least once at each episode. But never mind, it ends tonight as hapless vet Sara at last decides she absolutely MUST come out to her parents. Cue a disastrous dinner party.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 2nd April 2013

Despite the likeability of Sue Perkins's geeky-gawky vet Sara, this sitcom has relied on hackneyed set-ups and caricatures. In tonight's finale, it's D-Day, when Sara vows to tell her parents she's gay. Joanna Scanlan chomps through what remains of the scenery as Sara's New Age therapist.

Vicki Power, The Telegraph, 2nd April 2013

Final episode of the immensely enjoyable sitcom written by and starring Sue Perkins as a gay vet. The day has finally come for Sara (Perkins) to come out to her parents, but first an almost French farce-style mousetrap must be set to ensure that it's even more difficult, embarrassing and disaster-strewn than she could have possibly imagined. What this last episode lacks in believable plotting it more than makes up for in gags and snakebite antidotes. Roll on series two.

Julia Raeside, The Guardian, 2nd April 2013

Excitable vet Sara and her daft friends spend a hellish night in the chilly ancestral home of her barking-mad life coach Toria. It turns out Toria's hearty parents are as bonkers as she is, which is just as well as Toria wants Sara (Sue Perkins) to practise on them how she will come out as a lesbian to her own mum and dad. Toria's family (motto "Kill Them All"), including Dawn French in a grey wig as Toria's mum, is impertinently intrusive and the night is full of farcical misunderstandings as well as ghostly noises on the landing.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 26th March 2013

It's not a revolutionary sitcom, but that may well be the clandestine unique selling point of Heading Out: it places a gay character unremarkably at the centre of things, and lets her get on with it. Tonight, Sara (Sue Perkins) builds up to coming out to her own parents, by first telling someone else's: in this case, the Wodehousian eccentrics who gave issue to Toria, her life coach (the ace Joanna Scanlan). Best friends Jamie and Justine are, of course, on board for the reasonably amusing ride.

John Robinson, The Guardian, 26th March 2013

Determined to prepare Sara (Sue Perkins) for the impending visit from her parents, Toria (Joanna Scanlan) takes her, Justine (Nicola Walker) and Jamie (Dominic Coleman) to her own parents' stately home in the country to give her a "coming-out trial run". A cosy half-hour of affable nonsense, kept afloat by Perkins's ability to be simultaneously droll and vulnerable.

Lara Prendergast, The Telegraph, 25th March 2013

Steve Pemberton guests as a bizarre, equine-obsessed vet inspector who turns up at Sara's very peculiar practice. The place is even more shambolic after Daniel deserts his post to play sex games in his suburban front room. So Sara's simple-minded friend Justine (Nicola Walker) steps in to staff the reception desk, adopting a northern accent because she's a fan of All Creatures Great and Small.

It's a cheerful half-hour of amiable nonsense led by Sue Perkins. I know it hasn't set the world on fire, but its heart is in the right place and the gags are often clever.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 19th March 2013

It's a cameo-crammed episode of Sue Perkins's vet-based comedy tonight. She's joined by long-time collaborator Mel Giedroyc, on top form as a brusque Russian. Then Steve Pemberton pops up as a veterinary inspector with a penchant for horses. Despite feeling curiously detached from any sort of reality, Perkins's script is sprightly and her presence is somehow reassuring - awkward but always amiable.

Toby Dantzic, The Telegraph, 18th March 2013

The jury is still out on Heading Out

I must admit that while there are moments which are both humorous and surreal, I feel let down that Sara the vet isn't a bit more Sue-like.

Carmen Croghan, Smitten By Britain, 17th March 2013

I have a feeling that viewers are now attracted to new comedies in a process similar to ant-colony optimisation. A few try it out and if they like it and return they leave a pheromone trail that attracts others, until eventually there's a swarm clustered round every juicy new episode. Not sure that it's going to happen with Heading Out, Sue Perkins' comedy about a vet plucking up the nerve to tell her parents she's gay, perhaps because it continues to strain credulity with its comic plots.

This week, one running joke concerned her friend Jamie's attempts to become more blokey, an ambition that never remotely threatened to become believable. On the other hand, the surreal moments at which the whole thing turned into a soulful French film, complete with subtitles, were quite funny. The latter seemed true to a state of mind, the former just faked one for the sake of a joke.

Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 13th March 2013

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