Always June | Review of Vicki Pepperdine and Morgana Robinson's sitcom pilot as part of Radio 2's Funny Fortnight
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Always June

Review of Vicki Pepperdine and Morgana Robinson's sitcom pilot as part of Radio 2's Funny Fortnight

Funny Fortnight, Radio Two’s annual season of comedy pilots kicked off last night with Ed Patrick’s medical-based talk show, Infectious Personalities, and this sitcom, set in a rundown seaside boarding house, The Rookery.

Co-creator Vicki Pepperdine plays landlady June, the sort of redoubtable character she specialises in, bundling through life with bags of dilettante enthusiasm but no thought to practicalities.

Playing the straightwoman is Emma Sidi as  Becky, a waitress-stroke-aspiring writer who rocks up in need of some cheap accommodation. She’s lost in life and something of a blank canvas here.

As you might expect from a comedy, The Rookery is home to an assortment of misfits in the house, though they are drawn fairly flimsily. 

There’s Kenny, a socially awkward young gamer who lives in the basement; June’s mum, Flossie, a bonkers music-hall turn, Flossie, forever breaking into old songs; Karen, as an irritatIng, nerdy, wannabe alpha businesswoman with a nasal twang, a male stereotype given a gender tweak by the show’s co-creator, Morgana Robinson.

However, these supporting characters are largely unremarkable, one-dimensional and clichéd, which – added to a rather stagey performance–  lends an old-fashioned feel to the comedy. 

Pepperdine is the stand-out turn, with June likely to be just sort of eccentric but identifiable creation you could hang a decent sitcom on. And there are a reasonable number of amusingly scatty lines, often drawn from a Victoria Wood-style of amplified mundanity and super-specific references to the likes of ‘the Parker Knoll’.

But those around her are far less interesting bunch, making a longer stay at The Rookery not such an appealing prospect as it could have been.

  • Always June is available on BBC Sounds here.

Review date: 22 Mar 2020
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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