British Comedy Guide

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Hunderby. Image shows from L to R: Dr Foggerty (Rufus Jones), Helene (Alexandra Roach), Hesther (Rosie Cavaliero), Pastor John (Reece Shearsmith), Dorothy (Julia Davis), Edmund (Alex Macqueen), Biddy Ritherfoot (Jane Stanness). Copyright: Baby Cow Productions


  • TV sitcom
  • Sky Atlantic
  • 2012 - 2015
  • 9 episodes (1 series)

Period comedy written by and starring Julia Davis. Set in the 1800s, it focuses on the dark goings on in a small English village. Also features Alexandra Roach, Alex Macqueen, Rufus Jones, Rosie Cavaliero, Alexander Armstrong and more.

  • JustWatch Streaming rank this week: 6,139


Press clippings

Julia Davis's cavalcade of cruelty, violence and suggestions for how Jane Austen might have described vaginas reaches the end of a relentless two-parter. Graham adores Helene, a desire thwarted by his estranged wife and Helene's new suitor, the witchfinder-y pastor. The cast give their all, notably Rufus Jones, whose depiction of Graham's impotence is immensely ballsy. But most comedies spend whole episodes building up to the sort of vulgar explosion Hunderby rams into every scene. Less is sometimes more.

Jack Seale, The Guardian, 17th December 2015

Radio Times review

Mercy! Heavens! You can forget about the flowery dialogue, this concluding episode of the dark period comedy tips over into a cruel farce. There are lashings of blood, bodily fluids, disfigurement, frottage - and a bloody great mallet.

Julia Davis outdoes Kathy Bates in Misery when she wields that. As the plot races frantically in search of a conclusion, Davis's spiteful housekeeper Dorothy manipulates everyone around her to such an extent (stealing babies, crucifying monkeys and telling the lovely Alexandra Roach's Helene her beau reviles her "sour face and bland company") it's hard to continue the suspension of disbelief. Why can't anyone see through this loathsome woman's lies?

David Crawford, Radio Times, 14th December 2015

Hunderby review

Hunderby is the filthiest filth, but you can get away with a lot by being very good and very funny.

Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 11th December 2015

Julia Davis's gothic spoof returns for a two-part special. This opening hour sees evil housekeeper Dorothy determined to disrupt Helene and Dr Foggerty's marriage, while keeping master Edmund incapacitated with laudanum. Though this series provides Davis with the perfect setting in which to cultivate the bizarre idioms and stomach-turning adjectives that peppered Nighty Night, without the latter's acute social observation, Hunderby's appeal seems limited to her grotesque linguistic invention - and rather repetitive for it.

Rachel Aroesti, The Guardian, 10th December 2015

Julia Davis's sitcom returns to Sky for a special two-part episode and picks up where Series 1 left off.

It's a black comedy, set in the 1830s, loosely based on du Maurier's Rebecca, and is spoken in mock-Victorian language which allows it to conceal dark, rude jokes under the pretty silken cloak of genteel words.

The main character is Helene who was washed ashore after a shipwreck off the coast of England. She married a nice local vicar and had to keep her dark past hidden from him, but his sinister housekeeper, Dorothy, was always suspicious of her.

At the end of the last series, Helene had found love with Dr Foggerty and finally told Hunderby she was leaving him. If he wants a new wife then creepy Dorothy is on hand and would be more than happy to comply, but Hunderby just won't take the hint despite her constant schemes to win his affection.

As Helene and Dr Foggerty try to love one another, his wife, Crippled Hesther, promises to get in the way.

Julie McDowall, The National (Scotland), 10th December 2015

Hunderby, review: 'cartoonishly grotesque'

Julia Davis's twisted period sitcom is a million miles from the primary-coloured slapstick of other mainstream comedies, says Charlotte Runcie.

Charlotte Runcie, The Telegraph, 10th December 2015

Hunderby returns

Sky have apparently not yet made a decision on whether Hunderby should return for another full series, but Dorothy's surely got enough evil in her to go around.

Steve Bennett, Chortle, 10th December 2015

The deliciousness of a bubbly milk, however bubbly, cannot match that of the script and performances in this subversion of period dramas, set on a country estate in 1831 and home to housekeeper Dorothy, who Norman Bates would admire.

Hunderby is a wolf in a stiff corset, its teeth exquisite blades of language which shred characters' dignity and rip into Sunday night bonnet dramas, writers Julia Davis and Barunka O'Shaughnessy crafting sentences which glory in lampooning the literature of that time. A delirious and hysterical work of Gothic imagination to rival Wednesday Addams' diary - I had tears running down both sets of cheeks.

The first of this two part special assembles the scheming of Dorothy, the doomed love affair of Dr Foggerty (Rufus Jones) and Helene (Alexandra Roach), the simpering Hester (Rosie Cavaliero, more on her later), and a violent monkey. A monkey, Rufus Jones tells me, that between takes would wear a smoking jacket and a fez. That's normal by this show's standards.

Toby Earle, Evening Standard, 10th December 2015

Julia Davis interview

She has made a career of portraying malicious grotesques. As Hunderby returns to the screen, the queen of psycho-comedy talks about technophobia, period drama and repulsive food.

Tim Lusher, The Guardian, 6th December 2015

Interview: Julia Davis

Davis's 1830s-set gothic farce not only won Best Sitcom and Best New Comedy Programme at the British Comedy Awards, but Hunderby went on to earn Davis a writing Bafta in 2013. With such recognition you would think Sky Atlantic would call for an immediate follow-up series, so why has it taken so long?

Gerard Gilbert, The Independent, 6th December 2015

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