Man Down has returned for a third series and I thought it was a fourth, given (a) the length of time the programme has been around, and (b) so much is packed into each episode that there’s far more comedy than most other shows. It’s a bit like Cadbury’s “glass-and-a-half of milk” into their Dairy Milk bars. Or something.
Anyhoo, Dan’s (Greg Davies) still pining for Emma (Jeany Spark), who’s now working in Boston, but who knows him so well that she can tell he’s not wearing any trousers,
Another priceless, tight 30 mins that shows the programme goes from strength to strength and has managed to continue past the sad passing of the laet, great Rik Mayall.
Jo (Roisin Conaty) had written her autobiography, except that half of it was blank because “I’m not dead yet!”, championing the fact that she can fill the rest in as she goes; Mike (Mike Wozniak) is so straight-laced that he gets a kick out of doing his data entry job on a Saturday, Nesta (Stephanie Cole) is shown putting a rifle together in double-quick time, Tony Robinson pops up briefly as his mum’s new beau Daedalus (“Everyone calls me Daddy”, he announced, to which Dan replied with disdain, “I don’t!”), and there’s a dream sequence with Gwyneth Powell as a ninja. Normally, that would be more than enough for more comedies, but then along came something quite inspired…
Steven Berkoff as mad janitor Krakow, intervening with menace as Dan tries to get his personal file from the headmaster’s office so he can expunge it of his misdemeanours!
And don’t forget Shakira (Ashley McGuire) – I did a stint at Little Chef in the early to mid ’90s and hated it. If I was still there now, I’d be Shakira!!!
Oh, and the day after I watched this episode, I realised I had a CD in my car’s long-forgotten CD player. Turns out it was The Man Who by Travis. One of the songs is their hit single Driftwood, which Brian was singing along to in the programme…..
Man Down doesn’t make a whole heap of sense, but then it’s not meant to. It’s meant to give you a succession of bellylaughs, which it does with ease, such is the honed script and performances from all concerned.
It’s one of the jewels in Channel 4’s crown, and while the prospect of a second series was nearly derailed by the sad passing of Rik Mayall, as Dan’s father, I’m pleased that it returned and went from strength to strength, especially when that began with a Christmas Special that paid tribute to the former Young One.
Man Down continues on Channel 4 next Wednesday at 10pm, and the first episode is now available to watch on All4. Series 3 isn’t yet available to pre-order, but you can still buy Series 1 and 2 on DVD. Also, click on the cast image for the full-size version.
Episode 1 Score: 10/10
Director: Al Campbell
Producer: Toby Welch
Writer: Greg Davies, Mike Wozniak, Ed Gamble, Sian Harries and Steve Morrison
Dan: Greg Davies
Jo: Roisin Conaty
Brian: Mike Wozniak
Shakira: Ashley McGuire
Mum: Gwyneth Powell
Emma: Jeany Spark
Nesta: Stephanie Cole
Krakow: Steven Berkoff
Daedalus: Tony Robinson
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.