Psychobitches. Therapist (Rebecca Front). Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

Psychobitches

Sky Arts sketch show about women from history. 12 episodes (pilot + 2 series), 2012 - 2014. Stars Julia Davis, Rebecca Front, Sharon Horgan, Samantha Spiro and others.

Press Clippings

Sky's high-concept comedy, in which therapist Rebecca Front combs over the psyches of her famous patients, concludes its second series tonight with Gracie Fields (Frances Barber) and Daphne du Maurier (Morgana Robinson) among those exposing their neuroses. One of the less amusing, and less admirable, aspects of the show is the male comedians' pantomime dame-style grotesque parodies of women, a gag taken to extremes here as Mathew Baynton, Kevin Eldon and Dustin Demri-Burns play a trio of hideous witches.

Rachel Aroesti, The Guardian, 19th December 2014

Radio Times review

On the therapist's sofa tonight are Lucille Ball (the late I Love Lucy star), a gruff Mrs Noah and Bonnie Parker (Clyde's partner in crime). We also meet Mary Magdalene and Pocahontas; the former bears an unholy resemblance to Morgana Robinson's unrepentant Anna Nicole Smith last week, while Pocahontas embarks on a surreal rant about celebrity culture and tax-dodging comedians.

My favourite sketch is a group workshop for women traumatised by Hitchcock: Michelle Gomez plays a brooding Ingrid Bergman, whose treatment involves wrestling with a giant coffee cup. The actors are clearly having so much fun that, even when the gags are more weird than wonderful, it's impossible not to giggle along.

Claire Webb, Radio Times, 2nd December 2014

You can't knock the spirit of this comedy, in which Rebecca Front's furrow-browed therapist attends to history and fiction's most eccentric women. But despite the gusto of the performances, the gags the sessions are built on don't always live up to them. Tonight sees Bonnie Parker scheduling sessions around her crime sprees and a Lucille Ball convinced her real life is being televised. It seems to work better when the joke is madder and more incongruous, the last series' Pam Ayres/Sylvia Plath hybrid being the best example.

Rachel Aroesti, The Guardian, 2nd December 2014

Over on Sky Arts 1, some light relief from Psychobitches, one of the best new comedies on TV last year, though given its tiny home, few people actually got to see it. It's a sketch show set in a therapist's office, in which famous (dead) women from history tell psychiatrist Rebecca Front their troubles. The first series was a knockout - Julia Davis played a wailing hybrid of Pam Ayres and Sylvia Plath; the Brontë sisters were foul-mouthed, filthy puppets obsessed with sex, and Sharon Horgan played a campy Eva Peron, who clung on to her bottles of "boobles". It was silly, and odd, and very funny.

This second series is almost as good, though it feels more like a traditional sketch show and is slightly patchier, perhaps due to the sheer number of writers (I counted 12 on the credits for the first episode of this double bill, and seven on the second). In the best sketch, Kathy Burke and Reece Shearsmith play the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret as crude and grotesque, glugging down booze as Burke repeatedly rejects her on-screen offspring with delicious cruelty. Morgana Robinson joins the cast to play a sloppy Anna Nicole Smith - hers is a masterclass in physical comedy - and there's a musical skit featuring Unity, Decca and Nancy Mitford, as imagined by Horgan, Samantha Spiro and Sophie Ellis Bexter. In a sketch the Mail has already called "hideous", Michelle Gomez has gone from Doctor Who's Missy to an even more terrifying villain, playing Thatcher as a Hannibal Lecter-style monster, incapable of love. It's at its finest when it's upsetting the establishment, and it relishes its naughtiness.

The second episode was less sharp. Perhaps, given its hyperactive pace, it works better in single doses. But I loved Horgan as Carmen Miranda - "Of course I'm on fucking drugs" - and Sheridan Smith as a mute Sleeping Beauty, whose endless sleep has an ulterior motive. And anything that gets Kathy Burke back on our screens, even for a few minutes, is well worth our attention.

Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian, 26th November 2014

Why you should be watching Psychobitches

Michelle Gomez steals the first episode of Season 2, portraying a psychopathic Maggie Thatcher.

Rob Smedley, Cult Box, 25th November 2014

Psychobitches stars: comedy heroes... & Margaret Thatcher

Comedy isn't easy, especially for women in a male-dominated market - but Sky Arts 1 series Psychobitches has bucked the trend by giving the fairer sex the spotlight. Now, these funny ladies are undoubtably an inspiration to other comedy performers - but who were the women who inspired them?

Huw Fullerton, Radio Times, 25th November 2014

Radio Times review

As the title suggests, this sketch-comedy doesn't purport to offer a balanced portrayal of the historical subjects it puts in the therapist's chair. Instead, it's a rare chance to see some of our finest comic actresses freed from the shackles of realism.

In the first of a double bill, we see Kathy Burke transformed into a louche, foul-mouthed Queen, Sharon Horgan crooning angst as country singer Tammy Wynette and a breathy Morgana Robinson as Anna Nicole Smith. Fresh from playing enigmatic Missy in Doctor Who, Michelle Gomez steals the show as a clipped, impeccably coiffed Margaret Thatcher. "Love?" she sneers, when Rebecca Front's long-suffering therapist tentatively broaches the subject - "it's a fictitious concept, like heaven or peace or God."

Claire Webb, Radio Times, 25th November 2014

A double bill to launch the new series of this splendidly daft sketch comedy from The League Of Gentlemen's Jeremy Dyson. Rebecca Front returns as the ever-patient psychologist and a dazzling cast of comedy performers - including Katy Brand, Morgana Robinson, Sam Spiro, Sharon Horgan, Doon Mackichan and Liza Tarbuck - play fantastically loopy women from history. Tonight Anna Nicole Smith comes to talk about her love life, and Anne Boleyn hopes for a happy resolution in her couples therapy.

Julia Raeside, The Guardian, 25th November 2014

Sharon Horgan interview

'These days female comedy sells, and people want to watch it'

Sinead Gleeson, The Irish Times, 23rd November 2014

Morgana Robinson interview

As the all-star sketch show Psychobitches' returns, Morgana Robinson talks about her extraordinary rise from London hot-spot 'door whore' to TV's top female impressionist - and why white men still rule comedy.

Alice Jones, The Independent, 23rd November 2014