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Father Figure

Wed Sep 18, 10.35-11.05pm, BBC1

Episode one
The success of ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ has left everything up for grabs, confirming that certain TV phenomena are just inexplicable. Who cares what critics think when viewers vote with their eyeballs in such large numbers? This Jason Byrne sitcom, transferred to telly from a Radio 2 series, is wretched: clichéd, derivative, predictable and crass. But that doesn’t mean no one’s going to like it.

‘Father Figure’ is trad. Looking to the gentler end of domestic comedy (‘Not Going Out’, ‘Outnumbered’) for its inspiration, it leans towards the obvious at all times. Wondering what’s going to happen to that large and elaborate cake in the living room? Don’t expect to be surprised. But Byrne lacks Lee Mack’s sheer relentlessness and the knack of taking things one step further than they might – done well by ‘Outnumbered’.

So Byrne’s bumbling dad Tom just feels like an accumulation of his predecessors, but a dead end rather than a culmination. There are some decent performers in ‘Father Figure’ including Michael Smiley and Pauline McLynn. But they just haven’t been given anything to work with. Poor.