Bucket: BBC Four | TV review by Steve Bennett © BBC

Bucket: BBC Four

Note: This review is from 2017

TV review by Steve Bennett

It would be easy to see Bucket almost as a companion piece to its BBC Four stablemate, Detectorists.

For while Mackenzie Crook’s show is a realistic comedy about the minutiae of male relationships, Frog Stone’s is a realistic comedy about the minutiae of female ones. 

Down-to-earth doesn’t mean underplayed, however, when it comes to the dominating character of Mim – a peach of a role that Miriam Margolyes seems to have been born for… even if she had to wait 75 years to get it.

Mim is an outrageous free spirit, gloriously inappropriate at every turn, who likes nothing more than embarrassing her frumpy, timid daughter Fran with shameless talk of sex. Being a septuagenarian hasn’t quelled her appetite for mischief in fact it lets her get away with a lot more, assuming it can be put down to geriatric battiness.

An entertaining as those qualities make her, they are not the hallmarks of good parenting, and the dramatic drive of the show comes from the fractious mother-daughter relationship, and how it could be repaired as Mim considers her mortality.

Inspired by Muhammad Ali – or was it Delia Smith? – she decides to carpe the old diem and rack up some awesome experiences before it’s too late. Or as the double-entendre loving Mim says, she’s ‘got an enormous bucket’. List, that is

And because this is shot on a BBC Four budget, the first item is not to witness sunset at the Taj Mahal but to go on a road trip to a crappy holiday park with Fran, half her age but with barely a quarter of her get-up-and-go. Cue plenty of footage of them driving and chatting away in the car. With this and Car Share, the BBC s comedy output is starting to look more like Top Gear.

Once trapped in the same escapade, old rows come to a head, even as they are trying to love each other. This narrative is strong – viewers will want to know how all this pans out – and the humour subtle and muted, those innuendos, very liberally cast around and a little cheap, notwithstanding.

Bucket has a proudly female viewpoint (indeed it’s 22 minutes until a male character gets to say a line: Tom Price playing away on a pub trivia machine) without excluding the other half of the population. But its  main appeal is that it offers prime Margolyes, always a force of nature to be savoured.

• Bucket starts on BBC Four at 10pm tonight. There’s a preview clip here.

Review date: 13 Apr 2017
Reviewed by:

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.