The Cockfields are a family headed by Sue (Sue Johnston) and Ray (Bobby Ball), respectively mother and stepfather to Simon (Joe Wilkinson, who also co-writes). The pair live on the Isle of Wight where Simon’s returning to celebrate his 40th birthday, and taking girlfriend Donna (Diane Morgan) in tow.
Sue is the typical overbearing mother who wants to put on her best face for Donna’s visit, while Ray has a permanent scowl on his face. Meanwhile, Simon’s brother, David, is rather a wet blanket, declaring as in his first scene: “I lost my job… but it’s probably for the best”, and we learn that he’s a vegetarian but doesn’t like vegetables, so lives on cereal.
Meanwhile, Joe Wilkinson and Diane Morgan (Cunk on Britain) are exactly what you expect, if you’ve seen them before.
The Cockfields started off well with an early situation of how Sue can’t sign into her iPad, and asks for help from her son while he’s out with Donna.That’s the sort of thing that MY mum always does. She’s now using an Android tablet and somehow managed to factory reset it! You don’t do that accidentally(!)
There’s a bread knife kept in the bathroom, for reasons that are not because someone is senile, and the best laugh was when they’re all sat down to lunch in the garden, gardener Andre (Jeff Mirza) comes over, Sue offers him some quiche.. and he takes it straight from Bobby’s plate rather than from the quiche plate amongst the selections.
However, it’s a very gentle sitcom – being the best way I can put it, where elsewhere, it doesn’t get beyond lines like:
- Sue: “I’ve never been able to tell where the sun ends and the shade begins.”
Simon: “It’s a worry, isn’t it(!)”
The Royle Family this is not, even though amongst certain elements it copies, there is a scene set around the TV where Sue cuts Ray’s toenails in full view of the rest of the family… and there’s very few things more gross than seeing someone cut their toenails, but then that’s rather the point.
With the addition of the eternally youthful Nigel Havers on occasion, as Simon’s father, overall, it’s not laugh out loud, but it is worth a watch for the observational comedy if you have an elderly parent or three. However, there are just three episodes in this initial run, and for me, I think that’ll be enough.
Oddly, there’s no trailer online so I can’t link it here.
The Cockfields begins tonight at 10pm on GOLD and runs for three consecutive nights. It’s not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Episodes 1-3 Score: 4/10
Director: Steve Bendelack
Producer: John Rushton
Writers: David Earl, Joe Wilkinson
Music: Zero Vu
Simon: Joe Wilkinson
Donna: Diane Morgan
Sue: Sue Johnston
Ray: Bobby Ball
David: Ben Rufus Green
Andre: Jeff Mirza
Larry: Nigel Havers
Melissa: Sarah Parish
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.