Starlings. Copyright: Baby Cow Productions


  • TV comedy drama
  • Sky One
  • 2012 - 2013
  • 16 episodes (2 series)

Sky1 comedy drama about a dysfunctional family living in Derbyshire. Written by Matt King and Steve Edge. Stars Brendan Coyle, Lesley Sharp, Steve Edge, Matt King, Alan Williams and more.

Press clippings

Starlings cancelled after two series

In a statement confirming the cancellation of the series, representatives of Sky1 said: "We would like to confirm that Starlings won't be returning for a third series."

Patrick Munn, TV Wise, 13th September 2013

More gentle ups and downs in Matlock. Terry (Brendan Coyle) is getting high blood pressure from his building project, while his wife Jan (Lesley Sharp) is further enchanted by her creative writing class, and its sensitive but hunky teacher (Vincent Regan). Meanwhile, Bell (Rebecca Night) clashes, in some nicely timed scenes, with her fussy mother-in-law-to-be (Jaye Griffiths).

As usual, creators Steve Edge and Matt King give themselves the most fun, as Fergie and Loz set up an organic glamping business, but are thwarted by Loz's morbid fear of ventriloquists' dummies.

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 9th July 2013

Matt King (Super Hans) and Steve Edge write another series of their gentle, Derbyshire-set family drama starring Lesley Sharp and Brendan Coyle. Mr and Mrs Starling navigate the gently lapping waters of marriage while he continues with his building work and she takes a creative writing course taught by a total hornbag (Vincent Regan) who is definitely going to start pestering her for sex. Meanwhile, Charlie hurts her foot, Gravy digs up some treasure and Reuben has an important question for Bell. Dead cute.

Julia Raeside, The Guardian, 2nd July 2013

Given that ratings for the first series of this comedy-drama had halved by the third episode, it's fair to say few expected its return. Indeed, the show's writers - Peep Show star Matt 'Superhans' King and Steve Edge (who played racist Daryl in series two of the same show) have scripted an opener in which literally nothing interesting or amusing or clever or original happens to anyone.

Someone steps on a nail and goes to A&E. Someone else finds an old box in their garden with a metal detector and digs it up. King and Edge's characters (essentially Superhans minus crack, Daryl minus Nazi salutes) accidentally steal a pair of scissors from a hardware store and get detained by security. God, it's awful. All the while, a soundtrack of five year-old indie hits gives Starlings the feel of an unfunny Inbetweeners, or worse still, an episode of Hollyoaks.

Tired set-ups, misfiring humour: this is a show that belongs in an entirely different era. It may have found a little love in the early '90s, when mediocre-at-best family dramas were passable primetime fluff, but we'd prefer to see it shunted back through history a little further - any time before the invention of the television would be just fine.

David Clack, Time Out, 2nd July 2013

Last year, Starlings got that difficult formula for cosy comedy drama exactly right: visits to the Starlings brood in Matlock were warm, funny and welcoming without quite descending into vomitous tweeness. So it continues with the series-two opener, where a mishap for young Charlie (Finn Atkins) and a new suitor for matriarch Jan (the gently authoritative Lesley Sharp) bring threats we know very well the family will eventually overcome. This year, Cherie Lunghi joins the superb cast.

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 2nd July 2013

A drama named after the noisiest, most in-your-face of garden birds was never going to be a shy and introspective affair. And so it proved: you have to shout to make yourself heard in the Starling household, the nest feathered by redoubtable matriarch Jan (the ever watchable Lesley Sharp). Season two picks up where the first left off, the mix of soapy melodrama and knockabout comedy focusing on tomboy daughter Charlie (Finn Atkins), who's been in the wars.

Carol Carter and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro, 2nd July 2013

Brendan Coyle: 'Starlings series two is much darker'

Brendan Coyle has revealed that the second series of Sky1 comedy drama Starlings will have a much "darker" tone.

Alex Fletcher, Digital Spy, 25th June 2013

The season finale is as warm, cheesy, simple and satisfying as the previous seven episodes. A bereavement puts the Starlings in the mood to change their lives, grab opportunities, seize the day and refresh their characters in advance of a possible second run.

Meanwhile, Terry and Charlie are rewiring a derelict stately home, sharing the job with a boorish, fly-by-night spark (Phil Cornwell) who's funny and yet another reminder that Terry is a gentle saint. But then, so's everyone in the family: this show quite boldly insists on doling out bittersweet goodness all the time. You know the final funeral scene will be affecting without being too devastating, and that's fine.

There's a montage of happy clips from the series to close. It's a shameless device but, yes, they're very pleasant memories.

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 1st July 2012

Gently understated and truthful, Matt King and Steve Edge's series has been frequently delightful. The season draws to a close with Grandad (Alan Williams) getting a shock during a visit from an old friend. Elsewhere the-will-they-won't-they relationship between Reuben (Ukweli Roach) and Bell (Rebecca Night) takes yet another turn thanks to the intervention of Terry (Brendan Coyle), and Fergie (Edge) makes a surprise announcement to Loz (King) during a drawing class.

Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 29th June 2012

In tonight's episode of the clean-cut, sweet-natured comedy - think of it as the Larkins in Derbyshire - Loz (Matt King) and Fergie (Steve Edge) fall out over Loz's new girlfriend (Dolly Wells), Bell (Rebecca Night) and Reuben (Ukweli Roach) see a counsellor and Charlie (Finn Atkins) is offered a trial at Derby County much to the delight of her father (Brendan Coyle), who spots a chance to meet a former hero.

Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 22nd June 2012

Share this page