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The First Team. Image shows from L to R: Olivia Talbot (Tamla Kari), Mark Crane (Will Arnett), Benji Achebe (Shaquille Ali-Yebuah), Mattie Sullivan (Jake Short), Jack Turner (Jack McMullen), Chris Booth (Chris Geere), Petey Brooks (Theo Barklem-Biggs).

The First Team

BBC Two sitcom about footballers. 6 episodes (1 series) in 2020. Stars Jake Short, Shaquille Ali-Yebuah, Jack McMullen, Will Arnett and others.

Press Clippings

Can football and sitcom ever mix?

No sooner had the extended Premier League season ended than another footballing story started. You might not have noticed, but Apple TV's culture-clash sitcom Ted Lasso, about an American NFL coach with no soccer experience taking over at a Premier League team, began over the weekend. It arrived to a pretty muted response. It's not the only footy sitcom we have seen this year. Inbetweeners writers Damon Beesley and Iain Morris's disappointing The First Team had some distinctly lower-midtable reviews for the BBC. It's something of a trend that, whenever the sit of the com is in a football club, the laughs are hard to find. Mike Bassett: Manager lasted a series, The Cup and Warren United have tried it too, but none of them quite worked.

Tom Nicholson, The Guardian, 26th August 2020

The penultimate episode of a football comedy that struggles to penetrate. The team have a caretaker manager, and chairman Will Arnett reacts to their opening loss by organising a doomed meet-and-greet with fans. The new sports psychologist, meanwhile, is predictably incompetent.

Jack Seale, The Guardian, 25th June 2020

TV review: The First Team, series 1 episode 4

I've gone from being unimpressed with the show, to mildly hating it.

Alex Finch, Comedy To Watch, 18th June 2020

How do professional footballers fill the time between training sessions? This episode of the new comedy from The Inbetweeners' writers explores various options. Petey plays pranks, Jack meets up with a girl he met online and wide-eyed American Mattie befriends a star midfielder.

Ellen E. Jones, The Guardian, 4th June 2020

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

Review: Why new football comedy shows promise

The new comedy from the creators of The Inbetweeners was always going to have a problem: how do you send up something so brilliant at satirising itself?

The Scotsman, 30th 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

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: 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

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