The Duchess stars comedian Katherine Ryan playing a version of herself, beginning by taking her daughter, Olive, to school, and telling her about how since Leonardo DiCaprio drowned in Titanic, he has since never dated a woman over 25 again, before berating Jane (Sophie Fletcher) – at the school gates as the day begins, whose daughter, Millie, is the nasty one at the school, and now making Olive’s life hell.
She has a dentist boyfriend, Evan (Steen Raskopoulos – Feel Good), who’s a ‘friends with benefits, but he wants to be more than that, while she blatantly comes out with “I’ll let you do anal on Saturday”. However, despite only having one daughter, she wants another child… yet that would mean being in a relationship.
The other man in her life is her ex, and Olive’s Dad, Shep (Rory Keenan), a waster who used to be in a boyband many moons ago, and always needs to be reminded of the girl’s birthday, but then he lives on a bat on the water and gives his daughter dynamite as a present.
If this isn’t winning you over, then it’s not meant to. Ryan’s character is particularly nasty and man-hating, referring the production of her daughter as turning the father’s “garbage cum into a princess”. Yes, she’s very sweary. I know she’s on TV a lot, but here, it feels like she became a mum and then managed to wangle a sitcom off the back of that.
However, now, her biological clock is running out and she wants a second baby, but with a sperm donor. Who will be the willing participant, or will it be a random choice from the clinic?
Overall, The Duchess feels like Ryan’s trying to emulate Roisin Conaty’s Channel 4 sitcom Gameface, but it’s not even in the same league.
It’s not a complete dumpster fire, however… I did get a laugh in the second episode when Katherine and Bev are discussing children, and they chance across an old woman who says that what she thought was best for her son, was a stint at an arts college in Switzerland… “But he ran off with a German tranny from the music program.”
Naturally, they get upset about her using the word ‘tranny’, even though they think nothing about being derogatory about men in general.
So, that’s one laugh out of two episodes… and that’s enough watching of this for me.
As an aside, I note from the tags in my review that Beau Gadsdon, who plays Millie, also played a young Lisbeth Salander in The Girl In The Spider’s Web and a young Jyn (Felicity Jones’ character) in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The Duchess is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix from Friday September 11th.
Episode 1 Score: 0/10
Episode 2 Score: 1/10
Director: Toby Macdonald
Producer: Gavin O’Grady
Writer/Creator: Katherine Ryan
Music: Oli Julian
Katherine: Katherine Ryan
Shep: Rory Keenan
Olive: Katy Byrne
Evan: Steen Raskopoulos
Bev: Michelle De Swarte
Jane: Sophie Fletcher
Waiter: Jack Barry
Dr Frederick: Ajay Chhabra
Millie: Beau Gadsdon
Mr Michaels: Tony Jayawardena
Tom: Anwar Lynch
Another Mum: Sadia Azmat
Yet Another Mum: Marie Lawrence
Brian: Geoff Norcott
Leo: Naz Osmanoglu
Tyler: Harry Tuffin
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.