Warren United (3 stars)

Johnny Vegas, Darren Boyd, Morwenna Banks and Nitin Ganatra voice ITV4's hit-and-miss cartoon football comedy

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Warren United

The big pitch for this new animated sitcom about football and family from Baby Cow is that it’s here just in time for the Champions League Semi-Finals and Brazil World Cup. My guess is that people looking forward to those particular events won’t need a lukewarm cartoon about a football-obsessed dad to get them any more juiced up than they probably are already.

Written by Simon Nye (How Do You Want Me?: hurrah! and Men Behaving Badly: boo!), the opening episode, ‘July’, is a virtually laugh-free torrent of silage about what it means to be an addict when the source of your dependency has been withdrawn. The actual football bits are so ludicrous that they make Escape to Victory feel like a slice of Loach-like vérité.

Still, no one should seriously expect a comedic animation to fully tackle life as we know it, and Warren United has about as much to say about the politics of sport as Archer has anything remotely interesting to offer on the deeper machinations of America’s secret services. Thankfully, the second episode, ‘Mascot’, scores better with actual laughs, even if they are mainly provided by a couple of police horses and a story that tackles the perils of ageing and the lengths you might go to for your children’s happiness.

Cast-wise, it’s certainly a tasty line-up, with Darren Boyd as the titular dad, Morwenna Banks playing his faith-losing son, Nitin Ganatra as Warren’s work colleague and Johnny Vegas voicing the manager of Warren’s fairly useless team. Hopefully the series will up its game before the season is done.

ITV4, Tue 22 Apr, 10pm.

Warren United Trailer

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