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Family Tree

Family Tree

Tue Jul 30, 10-10.30pm, BBC2

By Claire Winter
Series one, episode three
With star Chris O’Dowd and ‘This is Spinal Tap’ creator Christopher Guest attached, there has understandably been quite a bit of hype and expectation surrounding this new comedy series. Thankfully, three episodes in and that hype is looking increasingly justified.

It’s difficult not to draw comparisons to the creator’s previous comedy ventures: while some of the gags are groaningly predictable (as when cocky Pete is pitted against a small child in the boxing ring – what could possibly happen?), the very best jokes in the series are the deadpan, subtle ‘did I just hear that’ variety that made ‘…Spinal Tap’ so funny. Tom’s ventriloquist sister Bea (Nina Conti) is particularly hilarious, her id-outlet monkey hand puppet sharp, rude and wonderfully weird. Their appearance this week as wedding entertainment is predictably disastrous.

Meanwhile, this episode takes Tom’s bittersweet – and rather hopeless – search for his family history into the world of sport after he makes another discovery. Hopefully those discoveries will keep on coming as this is getting better by the week.

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