Kate and Koji – The DVDfever Review – Brenda Blethyn

Kate and Koji Kate and Koji brings us back to the days of the sitcom being recorded in front of an audience which sadly, for ITV, is still the present day.

Yes, it’s Ethnic Mismatch Comedy #644, and since The Simpsons has predicted everything from making Donald Trump President, to the Coronavirus (Osaka Flu), I reckon they’ll also be correct in saying that Ethnic Mismatch Comedy #644 has been cancelled…

(…and if that reference is lost on you, you would’ve been able to see a clip below which I linked, but Youtube removed the Simpsons clip)

This unlikely pairing is seaside cafe owner Kate (Brenda Blethyn) and African asylum seeker Koji (Jimmy Akingbola), and it gets off to a bad start when Kate takes a phone call from someone who exasperates her. After finding it impossible to get her name across clearly, she mutters “Jesus!” under her breath, which the voiceless caller picks up on, thus Kate repeatedly shouts “No, my name’s NOT Jesus!” and the audience erupts with laughter as if this is the natural comedy successor to Fawlty Towers(!)

If this wasn’t a pre-watershed programme, I’d be expected Kate to mutter in despair, “Fuck me”, and then have to explain for five minutes that this is NOT an invitation.

Koji can’t work because he’s not allowed to do so legally, thus he’d be deported back to whichever country of which the actor is pretending to immitate the accent.

Also embarrassing himself is former Inbetweeners star Blake Harrison as Kate’s nephew, Medium. Yes, that’s his nickname. There were three kids called Dan in his school and he was medium Dan.

Yes, it’s that depressing a concept.

Meanwhile, Barbara Flynn needs to pay the bills and pops up as Councillor Bone, a ‘lifelong arch enemy’ of Kate’s because that’s all there is to do in this backwater.

As for the audience laughter, I know it’s not “canned laughter”, but it may as well be. Yes, I know they’ll record laughter from the audience, but the way it works is that as they reshoot jokes, they’ll use laughter from the first take to go with the best filmed take. Also, they’ll use laughter from some jokes to pep up others that didn’t get any reaction from the audience.

The ‘next week’ clip brings in Meera Syal as a GP who points out that Koji shouldn’t practice because he was struck off.

There’s nothing in Kate and Koji that’s new, but out of the small cast, only Jimmy Akingbola gets off relatively unscathed with his character’s matter-of-fact attitude.

But do you know where things get worse and worse? This crap comes from those behind Who Dares Wins, one of the crowning achievements of alternative comedy in the ’80s, with sketches that still crack me up to this day. And now, Jimmy Mulville and Phillip Pope (who led the band when I saw Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Live, many moons ago) are reduced to producing this fetid pile of shit.

I really hope Coronavirus shuts this cafe down.

And to that end, there were some great comments on Twitter about this, which you can see below.

Kate and Koji begins on Wednesday at 8pm, so if it does get ratings, it’ll be because it’s sandwiched inbetween two episodes of Corrie. The series is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.

After broadcast, each episode will be on the ITV Hub.


Kate and Koji Series 1 – Trailer – ITV

(Oddly, their trailer is on Facebook only, and not Youtube)

Episode 1 Score: 1/10

Director: Ben Kellett
Producers: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin, Debbie Pisani
Writers: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
Music: Phillip Pope

Kate: Brenda Blethyn
Koji: Jimmy Akingbola
Medium Dan: Blake Harrison
Councillor Bone: Barbara Flynn
Postman: Gary Lammin
Mr Mulholland: Victor McGuire
Nick: Kris Saddler
Young woman: Sarah Twomey