As the black Irish bastard you love to hate Aerial Telly is given pause by any new Mick show. London Irish arrives threatening all kinds of mayhem. The horses running through council estates and men in platform shoes being arrested for bombings Alan Partridge identified are an ever present spectre. What desperate minstrelism might it bring forth? Here we have four twentysomething friends from Belfast making their way in the Empire’s capital. Packy (Peter Campion last seen putting the smackdown on Ruth Negga) is a feckless fecker but still the most grown-up of the group. Bronagh (Sinead Keanen) is a ferocious ball of spite, an unbreakable vein of cynicism ripped through her like gold trapped in quartz. Conor (Kerr Logan) is a world-class eejit, Bronagh’s brother and recipient of much of her venom. Niamh (Kat Reagan) is a slutty, dopey and pathologically self-involved horror show. So far so good.
Bronagh (Sinead Keanen) is a ferocious ball of spite, an unbreakable vein of cynicism ripped through her like gold trapped in quartz.
They drink, they curse, they act up. Packy runs into an old work colleague Ryan who had his hand shot off by an armed robber while covering for a shift that was meant to be Packy’s. In a rare show of decency Packy pledges to donate the proceeds from their inevitable win at the pub quiz to his bionic hand fund. Bronagh though has other concerns about Ryan. She believes she gave him a ride at a fancy dress party where he went as Captain Hook. Had she realised his disability she would never have banged the “crafty sly deformed little fuck” and believes he should “stop disguising your stump and riding people”. You get the picture quickly that gross-out is the ethic, not the exception.
Had she realised his disability she would never have banged the “crafty sly deformed little fuck” and believes he should “stop disguising your stump and riding people”.
And I’m OK with that. London Irish triangulates itself somewhere between Roddy Doyle, Pulling and Shameless. This is the Ireland of Jimmy Rabbit, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Love/Hate – ebullient, unforgiving and amoral. It will be widely hated but it’s doing good work here. Its tone is consistent, it knows its characters and its world and it doesn’t give a rat’s ass what you think of it. It’s every uppity Mick in a bar you ever met.
The verdict: You may kill our people but you’ll never kill the craic.
Marks out of 10: 7.5