It’s not often TV drama gets how football fans speak. Over the years we become accustomed to this and our expectations adjust accordingly. Picture our surprise then when football fan dialogue appears so bad it dives a fathom below even our lowest expectations. ITV’s sausage fest Great Night Out features such dialogue early on in a verbal exchange between Stockport County fans and Barnet fans. Oh the banter! The Barnet fans give it some about northerners eating mushy peas. Our northern heroes respond with some classic stuff about southerners drinking shandy. This is exactly how football fans speak! Banter, Martin banter! Classic. Epic. Legend.
But let’s rewind for just a second to see who we are here for. Great Night Out is about four thirtysomething mates who hook up once a week for a boy’s night out. We’ve got
Hodge (Lee Boardman, forever Coronation Street’s Jez Quigley in the eyes of everyone) – cocky while out but henpecked to shit at home by wife Kath (Rebekah Staton forever Louise from Pulling in the eyes of many or She-Force from No Heroics in the eyes of slightly fewer). Then there’s Beggsy (Will Ash who is one of those faces you think you’ve seen playing northern halfwits a million times before but when you look him up has only played some hump on Shameless years after you stopped watching) who faces the heartache of his daughter Kelly being raised on the other side of the planet by his ex-wife and her new tub of shit Australian husbland. They lay that pathos on thick and creamy and why the hell wouldn’t they?
“Anyway, this is unbearable. Everyone talks like they’re in a sitcom – a really, really bad one. Every piece of action and speech acts as an implausible set up for an unfunny punchline. It’s like watching Cannon and Ball.”
Next up is Daz (Stephen Walters whose agent has seemingly got him out of the rut of playing Scouse pieces of shit like him from Accused and him from Good Cop and introduced him to a whole new world of playing Stockport teeds), the group’s wet blanket Captain Bringdown who has an on-off relationshit putting his cock into Colleen, played by Pieomi Bentley who was Prawn in The Poison Tree and Anitard in Mutual Friends.
You still with me? Excellent. The circle is completed by Glyn, the hopeless romantic of the group (Craig Parkinson playing somewhat against type after his stints as sleazy probation worker in Misfits and dirty damn cop in Line of Duty). He’s still strung out on some broad he was at school with, the more than passable Julie (Christine Bottomley). Glyn can’t quite seem to summon up the courage to ask her out and when he does get her alone he always seems to say the wrong thing. As you can imagine romantic misunderstandings and pratfalls abound.
Anyway, this is unbearable. Everyone talks like they’re in a sitcom – a really, really bad one. Every piece of action and speech acts as an implausible set up for an unfunny punchline. It’s like watching Cannon and Ball. Supremely annoying incidental banjo music that seems to think it’s scoring a chase scene from the Dukes of Hazzard alerts you to their comedic intentions. Isy Suttie (Dobby from Peep Show) surfaces and does that talking about somebody being killed, cue everyone’s reaction, then it turns out that someone is a cat bullshit – a device used in every kind of desperate tryhard ITV comedy, most recently the shitcake bake Switch. There’s a Clockwise style wedding-groom-on-the-wrong-train farce in the first episode whose beats are so obvious they don’t even bother trying to disguise them. Essentially, if this show were a song it would be Love Is the Law by The Seahorses and few things condemn it as roundly as that.
Jim Royle turns up in it too. He’s shite as well.
The verdict on Great Night Out: Great? Night. Out.
Marks out of 10: 4