BBC SCARBOROUGH: This is what the national press thought of episode one

The first episode of Derren Litten's new BBC sitcom Scarborough aired last Friday night.

Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 9:19 am
Catherine Tyldesley as Karen. PIC: BBC

It received favourable reviews from residents who attended the premiere of the first two episodes at the Stephen Joseph Theatre but judging by reaction on social media wasn't everyone's cup of tea.

This is what the national press had to say about Friday night's episode, read what The Scarborough News thought here.The Guardian

It seemed to be favourably received by TV writer Graeme Virtue, who wrote: "Benidorm’s creator, Derren Litten, turns his attention to another legendary seaside destination, one where life revolves around karaoke night in the local pub.

"After a few relationship wobbles, hairdresser Karen (ex-Corrie and future Strictly star Catherine Tyldesley) and arcade manager Mike (Jason Manford) are trying to make a go of it.

"Manford does a bit of karaoke crooning – because of course he does – but elsewhere the writing is both warm and wicked, while Claire Sweeney brings some powerful energy as the local man-eater."

The Telegraph

The Telegraph gave the series opener three stars out of five.

Critic Michael Hogan said: "Litten’s writing, thankfully, was way less one-note than in Benidorm, which had descended into Costa Del Carry On by the time it limped to a close last year after a decade on air. Scarborough was gentler, wryer and more observational, like a Victoria Wood off-cut.

"The sense of place was well-realised, the details lovingly rendered. This was a world of penny arcades, chips on the prom and karaoke nights in the local pub. A town that ran on tea, slightly stale biscuits and scurrilous gossip behind frilly net curtains."

He praised the performance of the cast, saying: "Manford, normally a comedian-cum-presenter, got to deploy his acting skills, as well as his sideline in crooning. Coronation Street alumnus Tyldesley was highly likeable, while Claire Sweeney hammed it up Dynasty-style as the local man-eater, all hairspray, leopardskin and cat-clawed one-liners."

In summarising, Hogan said: "This opener wasn’t entirely successful. The generic northern whimsy grated at times and a few characters verged on cartoonish. However, Scarborough was a huge improvement on BBC One’s other recent attempts at primetime sitcom: the execrable Hold The Sunset, the equally excruciating Warren and, of course, the mystifying phenomenon that is Mrs Brown’s Boys.

"Not an unqualified success but a promising start. As the folk ballad goes, Scarborough: fair."

The i

The programme went down less well with Emily Baker at i News.She opened her review with: "BBC One’s new comedy Scarborough is missing one key element – humour"

The critique continued: "Scarborough’s complete lack of laughs is more frustrating than upsetting.

"There’s a gap in the market for a straightforward, warm, hopeful sitcom, especially considering the recent trend for more surreal or caustic comedy. Those who can’t get to grips with Aisling Bea’s loneliness dramedy This Way Up or find The Mind Of Herbert Clunkerdunk completely unwatchable are being done a disservice and are simply left to watch yet another series of Mrs Brown’s Boys.

"It could be worse, though. There could be a completely unnecessary karaoke scene in which Jason Manford desperately, shamelessly puts in his bid to become the next James Corden. Oh wait."

The Mirror

Sara Wallis writes: "Someone alert the Spanish ­authorities – Benidorm has ­drifted to the Yorkshire coast. And I’m not sure I’m thrilled about it."

She wasn't sold on the humour in the episode, adding: "Everything soon descended into end-of-the-pier comedy, with jokes about Jimmy Savile – aren’t we over that one? – and the obligatory toilet humour."

However she praised one performance: "In better news, Claire Sweeney was a breath of fresh air, doing all she could with one-dimensional character Hayley."

The review ended: "This soap opera-style comedy was not my cup of Yorkshire. But let’s hope it warms up."

Episode Two airs on BBC One at 9.30pm this Friday.