I Want My Wife Back is what Ben Miller‘s character, Murray, is after since, up until a certain point, he’s the only one unaware of any problems with his marrage as he’s too wrapped up in his work.
And so stars a ’70s/’80s-style sitcom full of gentle humour based on misunderstandings, including very light cringe comedy, all with middle-class couples, plus middle-class characters that pretend to be upper-class, but not in a Hyacinth Bucket way since this is one of Miller’s lazy roles where he’s the TV equivalent of a Hugh Grant fop.
Jokes are signposted in advance, such as involuntarily shouting in an anger-management class which he’s accidentally stepped into, as well as the party that has to be cancelled – yet all the guests were stood outside the house at that very moment, plus the inability for the Murray to admit to anyone that his wife’s left him, hence the pretend-embarrassment never ends like the pain of constantly hitting your own hand with a hammer.
All it needed was a vicar to arrive with the party and for his trousers to fall down, right on cue.
Laugh? I nearly clamoured for the return of Miller’s godawful Tesco adverts with Ruth Jones…
Don’t expect anything revolutionary from this. It gave me a couple of light chuckles, but no reason to tune in for a second episode. After all, will he get his wife back? I didn’t care. And if they want a second series, her lack of return will have to feature into the finale, so you know already how this is going to play out.
What I would love to know, however, is when we’re getting a second series of Asylum, Miller’s BBC4 sitcom with his Dan Hern being inspired by Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy and co-starring Dustin Demri-Burns as entrepreneur Kim Dotcom-a-like, Ludo Backslash. THAT was funny.
I Want My Wife Back Series 1 is available to pre-order on DVD, and the series continues next Monday on BBC1 at 9.30pm. If you missed it, you can watch the first episode on BBC iPlayer, up until April 18th, and click on the DVD packshot for the full-size version.
Episode 1 Score: 2/10
Director: Paul Walker
Producer: Peter Norris
Writers: Mark Bussell and Justin Sbresni
Murray: Ben Miller
Bex: Caroline Catz
Grant: Kenneth Collard
Tamzin: Kate Miles
Abbie: Abigail Thaw
Keeley: Cariad Lloyd
Emma: Susannah Fielding
Curtis: Stewart Wright
Father-in-law: Peter Wight
Mother-in-law: Jan Francis
Nereesha: Priyanga Burford
Baz: Colin Mace
Lisa: Susan Earl
Tom: Tony Paul West
Airport Sales Assistant: Oriane Messina
Vicar: Vinta Morgan
Taxi driver: Glen Davies
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.