Martin Clunes is starring in a sitcom for the first time in a decade.
Yes, we know his most famous regular gig of recent years (as ITV’s Doc Martin) has a certain comedic bent to it. But his new series Warren will be his first straight comedy for ten years – since the ill-fated Reggie Perrin remake aired on BBC1.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new show…
Warren airs on BBC1 on Mondays at 9pm, starting on Monday 25th February and airing just before the hotly anticipated This Time with Alan Partridge. Or as Clunes told RadioTimes.com with a laugh: “I suppose I’ll have to weather a few unkind comparisons.”
What is Warren about?
Penned by upcoming writers Paul McKenna and Jimmy Donny Cosgrove, the comedy centres around the life of Warren Thompson, a pedantic, mean-spirited and tight-fisted driving instructor who thinks the world is against him.
Warren is a classic fish-out-of-water character – a southerner who is forced to move up north to Preston when his partner Anne’s father falls ill. He likes neither the area, the job, nor having to look after his two teenage stepsons. But he loves Anne – who always seems to see the good in him.
Who is in the cast of Warren?
Clunes plays Warren, with Lisa Millett (Early Doors, Blackpool) taking on the role of Anne. Newcomer Tim Preston plays the role of her son Charlie and (another newcomer) Oscar Morgan is Danny. The family’s cocky neighbours are played by Neil Edmond (as Ian) and Line of Duty’s Maya Sondhi as Ian’s socially ambitious wife Paula.
Is there a trailer for Warren?
There sure is…
What does Martin Clunes say about his new character?
“I like him… he’s not admirable in any way but you can see his motives, and how his mind works,” Clunes told RadioTimes.com. “I have to root for him because I’m playing him.”
On his return to sitcom, he said: “It goes to show when the right script comes along from the right sort of people, it works. It’s that thing when you think you couldn’t bear someone else doing this that you say, ‘I have to do it’.
“I chuckled away when I read the scripts at how funny everybody was in it. And there are truths there. You can’t just twat around and be ‘Mr Poo Poo goes to the toilet’. It’s just not funny if a fool does something foolish. But here I think there’s enough of a tangible world to build some genuine humour in.”
Review: is Warren any good?
There is something strangely old-fashioned about Martin Clunes’ foray back into straight sitcom after a decade as he takes on the title role of curmudgeonly, tight-fisted southerner (and driving instructor) Warren who is transplanted up north to Preston. His life with Anne, his dotty but loving partner (not wife, mind, he’s too ungenerous to marry her), and her surprisingly tolerant two teenage sons, is punctuated by hoary sitcom staples like keeping up with the flashier neighbours and struggling with new-fangled technology.
A key plot line in episode one sees Warren deciding to reline his pond but not wanting to fork out the cost of a new pond liner. His annoying neighbour, Ian, appears to have relined his pond too. Warren also schemes to get stepson Charlie a job in the local garden centre so he’ll get some discount on, you guessed it, a new pond liner.
It’s the kind of plot line (or pond line?) that wouldn’t have felt out of place in 80s classic Terry and June – which to some people may be no bad thing. But for those expecting cutting edge comedy for the modern era, this is probably not the show for you.
Having said that, the cast work well together and Clunes in particular is always an alluring performer. And there are just about enough decent one-liners to keep this ticking along….
Warren begins on Monday 25th February at 9pm on BBC1