*Warning: contains spoilers for This Country series three episode one*
It’s been over a year since we last saw irrepressible cousins Kerry and Lee “Kurtan” Mucklowe, the self-proclaimed queen and king of their Cotswolds village, and stars of Daisy May and Charlie Cooper’s hilarious and BAFTA-winning mockumentary.
Now the Cooper siblings (who play Kerry and Kurtan) have penned a third series, and its opening episode contains everything we’ve come to expect from This Country: side-splitting dialogue, sharp observations, cherry-picked cultural references – Tesco, Bitcoin, John Lewis, the TV channel Dave – and, of course, unexpected pathos, particularly in episode one, as the series takes the opportunity to pay tribute to the Cooper’s co-star and friend Michael Sleggs, who died last year.
As we return to the Cotswolds, we learn from the local parish vicar that Michael “Sluggs” (played by Sleggs) has died, and Kerry and Kurtan have been struggling to come to terms with his absence – although they’re relieved he died before they had to accompany him to the zombie escape room in Swindon.
Kerry, however, is keeping busy, having started a new job at the local recycling centre after racking up debts. Kurtan is keen to help his cousin keep her job – after all, it was him who bailed her out and lent her the lump sum his gran originally gave him to invest in Bitcoin. To make sure Kerry sticks to the job and eventually pays him back, he’s taken to cleaning the house, cooking for her – and turning over Kerry’s bedridden mum with a snow shovel.
Kerry is in her element, but for all the wrong reasons, as she reveals to the cameras that she’s taken to stealing items intended for the charity box. “The dump is my John Lewis,” she declares, returning home to Kurtan with a stolen foot bath.
However, the cousins’ domestic happiness is soon disturbed by Sluggs (still “shit-stirring” from beyond the grave) when a letter is delivered to Kurtan that sheds new light on “bed-gate,” a traumatic incident that occurred 12 years ago in Newquay, and which Kurtan has always blamed himself over – until now, when Sluggs using the letter to clear his conscience and admit that the real culprits were himself and (surprise, surprise) Kerry.
“At the end of the day, I’m a very vindictive person,” Kurtan says matter-of-factly – but he’s torn between acting on his new information, and allowing karma to take its course. According to him, his cousin Kerry is a “back-stabbing user” who’s “only loyal to herself, staffies, and the TV channel Dave,” but perhaps it takes a letter from Sluggs for the pair to admit to their own flaws…
This Country series three will continue to air weekly on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Mondays at 7pm.