BBC1 has axed primetime comedy-drama Mutual Friends after just one series.
The Hat Trick show, penned by Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto, was initially planned as a one-off about male friendship featuring comedians Ben Miller and Alexander Armstrong but was later commissioned for a 6 x 60-minute series.Robin Parker, Broadcast, 1st May 2009
This thirtysomething comedy drama hasn't been to all tastes and it didn't break new ground, but it has had its fun moments.Patricia Wynn Davies, The Telegraph, 30th September 2008
Mutual Friends, may not be a ratings hit but I'm enjoying the talents of the two stars - the brilliant Marc Warren and the scene-stealing Alexander Armstrong. It manages to be hilariously funny and quite deep and serious in places.
Before its first screening, critics were comparing it to ITV1's Cold Feet, but Mutual Friends does have its own engrossing style and the story is very different. Warren and Armstrong bounce off each other brilliantly while there's good support from an ensemble cast including Emily Joyce as Martin's boss and Sarah Alexander.
Being very easy to watch and surprisingly very funny, it's the kind of drama only us Brits could achieve with a good mix of proper drama and human, normal characters. The only possible flaw is that I've yet to warm to Keeley Hawes's character.The Custard TV, 14th September 2008
Comedy-dramas are notoriously tricky to pull off, because their success depends to a great extent on getting the tone right. If the tone isn't right, the elements of comedy and drama work against each other, making the drama unbelievable and the laughter artificial. Three episodes in, and Mutual Friends remains neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring. That none of the characters is particularly sympathetic is by the by; the big problem is that it sets out to embrace big issues - suicide, unhappy marriages, freedom versus responsibilityand much more besides - which it handles with the kid gloves of light entertainment. The cast are so experienced and accomplished that they are able to sustain the entertainment, but it remains an unsatisfactory beast.David Chater, The Times, 9th September 2008
This curious drama with occasional laughs is still struggling to find its feet and its identity, something that isn't helped by its underwritten, shallow and irritating female characters. This isn't really their fault, because they have almost nothing to do except whine, cling or just generally be pointless and annoying.
Poor Sarah Alexander in particular is saddled with a deadly role as Liz, ex-girlfriend of tedious lothario Patrick (Alexander Armstrong). One minute she's quite sane and sensible, the next she's behaving like a halfwit. Things are still being kept together by Marc Warren as Martin, the hopeless cuckold whose desperate attempts to win back the affections of wife Jen (Keeley Hawes) keep hitting the rocks.Alison Graham, Radio Times, 9th September 2008
Marc Warren talks about his career and latest role in the new BBC comedy drama Mutual Friends.Ed Potton, The Times, 6th September 2008
We liked parts of it in the same way someone with the last wisps of life passing their lips savours their chronically sore knee as it is the only conduit through which any feeling now exists.The Custard TV, 3rd September 2008
A shudderingly badly written new TV drama that wouldn't last beyond the first week in a theatre. On TV it'll carry on for six godforsaken episodes. It is one of those vaguely unpleasant pieces that thinks it's a black comedy but has neither the charm nor the cruelty to pull it off.
People shitting in other people's shoes? Hilarious, I'm sure. The soundtrack - a knowing, jaunty tango - amplifies every failing.
The estimable cast - Marc Warren, Alexander Armstrong - have a vaguely betrayed air, as if they know the script can barely cover their naked shame. Only Keeley Hawes has thrown her heart into it, seeming to relish her shallow, unappealing character. I used to really like her as an actress. One line for me sums up the poverty of this script. A poor child actor had to deliver a bombshell about his parents' infidelity. He was only a kid but he still seemed to cringe as he said the words:
Is Uncle Carl in heaven? Good. Now he won't be able to shag mummy any more. Can you think of a smarmier, more contrived line of dialogue? A more obvious plot-hinge, a cheaper, nastier, less plausible sentence for a child to deliver?
I don't know if it's just me, but this kind of stuff, which might have provided a bit of light relief six months ago, now seems awkwardly out of step with these difficult times.Kathryn Flett, The Observer, 31st August 2008
For the record, I think Mutual Friends is a strange mixture - it's not quite a drama, but then it's not quite a comedy either and in reaching for that most difficult to achieve TV hybrid, the 'comedy drama', it's ended up being neither one thing nor another.Alison Graham, Radio Times, 29th August 2008