TV review: Peter Kay's Car Share, BBC One
Northern wag’s new project is like The Royle Family in a motor
After a few episodes of his new comedy vehicle, the everyman appeal of Peter Kay will remain something of a mystery to those who have never quite got on board with the bitter and garlic bread-pushing Lancashire funnyman.
Four writers are in tow for Car Share (including Kay and his co-star Sian Gibson), and they have opted to pitch this as a kind-of Royle Family relocated from living room to company car, similarly featuring lengthy, awkward silences broken by earthy dialogue which veers from utterly inconsequential to subtly unlocking tiny clues of character development.
John (Kay) and Kayleigh (Gibson) are chucked together via a car scheme cynically hatched by their supermarket employers. At first, they are wholly reticent of each other but the ice is pretty much broken through a rather unfortunate urine-splashing incident. Things do start to spice up a bit in its third instalment when Kayleigh (clearly still sozzled from the previous night’s socialising) arrives for her morning lift with hair wildly unkempt, shirt untucked and minus a shoe.
Given the gritty vérité of the show (and John’s status as an assistant manager), what should have happened next was Kayleigh being turned back round and sent home to pull a sickie – but then, this is telly. Nonetheless it’s a welcome change of pace, ramped up further when Reece Shearsmith hitches a ride in the back to play the store’s slightly unhinged fishmonger.
A touch of the Reggie Perrins is provided with the slightly downtrodden Kayleigh occasionally daydreaming that she is an empowered woman, inspired by the nostalgic tunes she loves (and John hates) on Forever FM. There’s a slightly unfortunate waft of homophobia about some of the first-episode banter and the ‘will they / won’t they?’ undercurrent is as predictable as it is tedious.
Those who have tapped into Kay’s northern ‘charm’ will lap this up; the rest of us can just be thankful that Paddy McGuinness doesn't make an appearance.
Peter Kay’s Car Share will be available on BBC iPlayer Fri 24 –Tue 28 April, before screening on BBC One, Wed 29 Apr, 9.30pm.