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Series 1, Episode 1 - Selling Shirts

The First Team. Image shows from L to R: Mattie Sullivan (Jake Short), Jack Turner (Jack McMullen)
New signing Mattie Sullivan arrives at the club, but a meeting with eccentric chairman Mark Crane leads him to wonder if he's been signed by mistake. As if that wasn't bad enough, club hard-man Petey Brooks takes a dislike to him and legendary Italian manager Cesare is nowhere to be found.

Further details

Mattie strikes up a friendship with fellow team member Benji Achebe, who fancies himself as a ladies man despite the fact that he still lives at home with his mum. And they both agree to help out the shy number 16 Jack Turner in an attempt to solve an embarrassing problem.

Broadcast details

Date
Thursday 28th May 2020
Time
9:30pm
Channel
BBC Two
Length
30 minutes

Repeats

Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Monday 10th May 2021 11:30pm BBC2

Cast & crew

Cast
Jake Short Mattie Sullivan
Shaquille Ali-Yebuah Benji Achebe
Jack McMullen Jack Turner
Will Arnett Mark Crane
Chris Geere Chris Booth
Theo Barklem-Biggs Petey Brooks
Tamla Kari Olivia Talbot
Paolo Sassanelli Cesare
Yetunde Oduwole Mrs Achebe
Ossian Perret Pascal
Bobby Hirston Garlic
Guest cast
Marvin Brown Bootz
Greg McKenzie Sports Reporter
George Potts Doctor
Bronte Terrell Jourdane
James Craze Policeman 1
Paul Richard Biggin (as Paul Biggin) Policeman 2
Jason Williamson Kit Man Martin
Jolyon Young Caretaker Steve
James Groom Man in Cash and Carry
T'Jean Uter Dinh Boy 1
Tyler Crossinggum Boy 2
Guy Rhys Daniel
Ali Iqbal Delivery Man
Sally Nugent Self
J├╝rgen Klopp Self
Jonathan Pearce Self (Football Commentator) (Voice)
Gary Lineker Self
Writing team
Damon Beesley Writer
Iain Morris Writer
Robert Popper Script Editor
Tyrell Williams Script Consultant
Production team
Damon Beesley Director
Iain Morris Director
Sam Pinnell Producer
Tom Werner Executive Producer
Caroline Leddy Executive Producer
Gregor Sharp Executive Producer
Damon Beesley Executive Producer
Iain Morris Executive Producer
Jane Harrison Line Producer
Charlie Fawcett Editor
Jeff Sherriff Production Designer
Nadira Seecoomar Casting Director
Jacqueline Mills Costume Designer
Simon Tindall Director of Photography
Line Kolaasaeter Make-up Designer
Mike Skinner Composer
David Scott 1st Assistant Director

Press

There was a BBC Two offering called The First Team, about an (unnamed) Premier League kickball club, which sounded initially unappealing. It is delightful, or at least as delightful as anything about football that sets itself up as a comedy might ever manage to be.

Written by the people behind The Inbetweeners, it focuses on the losers of the bunch: keen young woke Yank, stoic scouser, blingy gawk who believes anything posted is good publicity. It is joyous and eventually moving, in its explorations of greed, hashtags, bullying, crap management, unentitlement, and the average 20-grand-a-week bloke's grasp of the #MeToo movement. It is far from perfect but it's punchy, and, crucially, funny.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 31st May 2020

The First Team review

The First Team just isn't ready for the big time. Back to the training ground.

Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail, 29th May 2020

The First Team review

On paper, this pitchside sitcom should be an open goal - but it isn't quite there yet.

Nick Reilly, NME, 29th May 2020

The First Team review

Unlikely lads make this slow-burn sitcom not just for football fans.

Susannah Butter, Evening Standard, 28th May 2020

TV review: The First Team, BBC2

We might have to wait a bit longer for the real Premier League to start but you can get an early football fix with this new sitcom set in the world of soccer's top flight written by Inbetweeners writers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley. Although a word of warning if you are having really bad withdrawal symptoms, there is no actual football shown. This is pretty much a workplace comedy that happens to be set in the football world. Same shit, shinier cars.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 28th May 2020

Review: The First Team

The Inbetweeners rightly raised Iain Morris and Damon Beesley to the comedy nobility. But with The First Team - another examination of young male relationships - they've missed the goal, certainly judging by a relatively flat opening episode.

Steve Bennett, Chortle, 28th May 2020

The First Team - a football sitcom fit for relegation

This new comedy from the writers of The Inbetweeners boasts Will Arnett and trademark 'banter' - but there's only so long you can watch bored footballers playing Fifa.

Rebecca Sayce, The Guardian, 28th May 2020

The First Team, review: second division comedy

The German Bundesliga and reruns of classic matches have been trying valiantly to fill the football-shaped hole in our lives. Could new pitchside sitcom The First Team (BBC Two) further plug the gap? No, it couldn't. Viewers were left sick as a parrot, rather than over the moon, Clive.

Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 28th May 2020

The First Team review: boys, balls and banter

Is The First Team football's answer to The Inbetweeners? Luckily for the BBC Two sitcom, yes it is.

Louisa Mellor, Den Of Geek, 28th May 2020

The First Team review: football sitcom hits the post

New comedy series from the creators of The Inbetweeners fails to score big laughs.

Patrick Cremona, Radio Times, 28th May 2020

Iain Morris and Damon Beesley on The First Team

The duo that skewered lad culture with The Inbetweeners are back and want to show us that football is not all toxic masculinity.

Jay Richardson, i Newspaper, 27th May 2020

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