If you’re a fan of cringe-inducing comedy on the small screen, then you really ought to seek out the incredibly awkward new mockumentary This Country. Four episodes in and the show has already been promoted from its original position on the online-only channel BBC 3 to a slot on BBC1.
If you thought David Brent’s move to the silver screen in Life on the Road made him lose some of his edge, then This Country might just be the show to reignite your cringe glands. Where The Office picked through the entrails of life on the Slough trading estate, This Country rummages around a small village in the Cotswolds to find some even more tragic life forms than Mr Brent himself.
Kerry and Kurtan are cousins with a lot of time on their hands and very little to do with it, but because the BBC has decided to explore why rural youth are currently feeling disaffected, the cousins have become the witless stars of their own BBC documentary.
Whether its waiting for their Uncle Nugget to be released from prison or getting caught up in a pyramid scheme to sell health drinks that taste like (gr)ass, they are a tragic pair whose misfortunes are easy to laugh at. If the anyone from the European Union ever watches This Country, it will make them feel pretty damn relieved we left. Even if the majority in the Cotswolds voted to remain, it’s not hard to imagine many of those that Kerry and Kurtan come in to contact with wanting nothing to do with the outside world beyond Britain’s great watery borders.
Siblings Daisy and Charlie Cooper are the creators, writers and stars of the show and have based the episodes on events that happen around their hometown of Cirencester. Daisy and Charlie Cooper have already shown a keen eye for what makes characters like this so tragi-comic. With its small rural town setting, it can seem a little like an extended skit from Little Britain, particularly the sketches with that old racist lady tasting the cakes made by ethnic minorities at the local fete.
It’s an encouraging sign to see BBC 3 still developing new talent and offering comedy stars of the future a platform to get their material seen. This Country has been well reviewed by critics from The Guardian and The Independent and it’s unsurprising to see it get promoted to a slot on BBC 1. Spurred on by support from celebrities including Russell Brand, This Country is going to be the comedy everyone will be talking about by the time its first six episode season comes to a close.
If the This is England TV series offered too much of a bleak view of the state of the nation for you, then give This Country a try. Its stars Daisy and Charlie Cooper will be on the rise, but its breakout characters Kerry and Kurtan are almost certainly going nowhere fast. And that’s what makes them so damn laughably loveable.