Year Of The Rabbit gives us Matt Berry as Matt Berry, this time in the Victorian era as Detective Inspector Rabbitt, who’s quickly annoyed when being given a cop partner for the first time, in the form of Strauss (Freddie Fox), who fancies the pants off a dead, naked woman who’s been murdered… so you can see where this is going from the off.
Without too much in the way of actual sleuthing happening (even though it was obvious that wasn’t going to play any serious part), there were occasional humourous lines, such as an amusing spoof of John Merrick, aka The Elephant Man, who didn’t mind the attention her got, saying “Stare all you like and it’ll cost you thruppence! Merrick don’t freak for free!!”
Also, when Rabbitt and Strauss caught up with a victim who was sat out in the cold:
- Strauss (to the man): “You’re gonna pull through.”
Rabbitt (to Strauss): “He’s dead.”
Strauss (to the man): “You’re not gonna pull through. I’m so sorry if I misled you.”
In this era, the equivalent of a poledancing club just has women showing an ankle, but, however, there were a few jokes which clearly set up the expected punchline, plus at times, Berry loves to replace jokes with swear words, making this feel rather lazy, overall. Still, at least it’s a step-up from Berry’s other latest sitcom, What We Do In The Shadows.
Overall, this first episode passed half-an-hour without any major complaints, but also without any need for me to return for a second episode. Berry has been far better in shows like House of Fools and Toast, but here, he’s just phoning it in.
Year Of The Rabbit begins tonight on Channel 4 at 10pm. The series is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release on July 22nd. You can watch each episode on All 4 for 30 days after transmission.
Episode 1 Score: 3/10
Director: Ben Taylor
Producer: Hannah Mackay
Writers: Kevin Cicil, Andy Riley, Matt Berry
Detective Inspector Rabbitt: Matt Berry
Strauss: Freddie Fox
Mabel Wisbech: Susan Wokoma
Hugh Wisbech: Alun Armstrong
Flora: Jill Halfpenny
Lydie: Keeley Hawes
Tanner: Paul Kaye
Gwen: Ann Mitchell
Princess Juliana of Bulgaria: Sally Phillips
Baz: Dave Arthur
Keith: Amer Chadha-Patel
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.