A star rating of 4 out of 5.

"This actually isn't the worst hen do I've been on," says beautician Veena (Lauren O'Rourke), after society has crumbled in the wake of a devastating crab measles outbreak. I was similarly surprised upon discovering that Henpocalypse! is actually a thoroughly entertaining show.


In lesser hands, this premise could have completely dissipated into little more than crass shock value. Fortunately, creator Caroline Moran and her stellar cast weave it into something far more compelling – while keeping the rude and raunchy antics you'd expect from a typical pre-wedding blowout.

Henpocalypse! begins as bride-to-be Zara (Lucie Shorthouse) heads to the Welsh countryside with maid of honour Shelly (Callie Cooke), mother Bernadette (Elizabeth Berrington), cousin Jen (Kate O'Flynn) and aforementioned pal Veena.

Preparations have been made for a weekend of debauchery before she ties the knot with longtime boyfriend Gary (George Somner).

Alas, in a twist that some viewers will have experienced themselves, plans are utterly derailed by a nightmarish pandemic. This show actually went into development prior to COVID-19, however, and I'm relieved to report it does nothing to trivialise that tragic event in our recent history.

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The fictional crab measles is a plot device dispensed of quickly as the focus shifts squarely to our group of woefully ill-equipped hens.

Using their limited resources – largely penis-themed paraphernalia – they must survive an eerily quiet post-apocalyptic world that apes The Last of Us... replacing fungus-controlled zombies with militant pilates instructors, naturally.

It's totally daft but unashamedly so, and there's a lot of fun to be had for those willing to go along for the ride.

It isn't all dildo spears and kegel gags, either. The troubled dynamic between Zara and Shelly provides some genuine emotional stakes, while an unhinged survival plan by the ragtag group is intriguing enough to trigger an iPlayer binge.

Lucie Shorthouse, Lauren O'Rourke, Elizabeth Berrington and Callie Cooke in Henpocalypse! standing in a forest, looking into camera
(L-R) Lucie Shorthouse, Lauren O'Rourke, Elizabeth Berrington and Callie Cooke in Henpocalypse!. BBC / Various Artists / David Gennard

It helps that the characters are so well realised, with each of them getting moments to shine across these initial six episodes.

Cooke can play a look of quiet horror and bemusement like no one else, while O'Rourke and Shorthouse excel in their respective survivalist and bridezilla roles.

O'Flynn makes a haunting first impression as hapless Jen meets a grim fate, before diving into some enjoyably surreal scenes featuring the one and only Danny Dyer.

Ben McGregor is another amusingly chaotic addition as unsuspecting stripper, Drew, but true wild card status goes to Berrington, who sharply delivers some classic lines as the uncompromising mother of the pack.

Undoubtedly, Moran has delivered another highly watchable sitcom in Henpocalypse!, which puts a unique and unpredictable spin on the well-worn post-apocalyptic subgenre.

It's not high-brow, but it's bloody good fun – as any quality hen do should be.

Henpocalypse! premieres on BBC Two at 10pm on Tuesday 15th August. Check out more of our Comedy coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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