TV review: Sick Of It, Sky One (4 stars)

TV review: Sick Of It, Sky One

Downbeat sitcom as Karl Pilkington wrestles with his inner voice

Karl Pilkington has been good to Sky. And vice versa. Several of the channel's recent home-grown hits have centred around the loveable curmudgeon, including documentary series An Idiot Abroad and The Moaning of Life. Now they have bankrolled Sick Of It, Pilkington's first scripted sitcom co-created with Richard Yee.

Obviously influenced by the likes of Curb Your Enthusiasm or Maron, Karl plays a version of himself as a cabbie living with his elderly aunt (Sondra James) after splitting from his girlfriend. The gimmick being that his inner voice is given physical form (also played by Pilkington) to comment, nag and criticise the ongoing action. That is if you count freecyling a sofa, going on a bleak one man holiday or a day trip to Eastbourne as 'action'.

From his travelogue series you know there's an element of truth in his exasperated, put upon persona. The two Karls are pretty similar – 'inner' Karl is slightly more negative but the difference between the two is paper thin – which would make you think the concept is redundant. However it removes the need for a clumsy voiceover and gives the Karls a chance to debate and dissect their thoughts and feelings. The first few episodes are quite lightweight but as the series progresses, it reveals deeper levels as Pilkington contemplates death, memory and how we're forced to fit into society's rules and pigeon holes.

Pilkington captures a real sense of sadness and exasperation and grows as an actor and character with each episode. It also features cameos from some of the UK's best comedy character actors and stand-ups (including Lou Sanders, Craig Parkinson, Cavan Clerkin and Perry Benson). Sick Of It isn't going for big laughs, it's a low key comedy more concerned with the uncomfortable tedium of modern life.

Episodes watched: Six of six.

Sick Of It is on Sky One from Thu 27 Sep, 10pm.

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