JACK’S RU­RAL HELL

A city cou­ple’s dream move to the coun­try turns into a night­mare in Jack Dee’s new sit­com – in­spired by his own failed spell in the sticks

Daily Mail Weekend Magazine - - YOUR TV WEEK - Tim Oglethorpe Bad Move, Wed­nes­day, 8pm, ITV.

When Steve and his wife Nicky swap their home in the city for a pretty proper ty in the York­shire Dales, they be­lieve it will her­ald a bright new chap­ter in their lives. Sadly, that’s not the case, as we dis­cover in Jack Dee’s hi­lar­i­ous new ITV sit­com Bad Move, which demon­strates in ex­cru­ci­at­ing de­tail how a dream house swap can quickly turn into a night­mare.

‘They dis­cover that they can’t get the in­ter­net to work at the new prop­erty be­cause the house is in a dip, which is dis­as­trous as my char­ac­ter Steve works from home,’ says Jack, who cre­ated the se­ries with Pete Sin­clair.

‘ Then their pop star neigh­bour Grizzo keeps them awake at night by play­ing his lat­est al­bum very loudly through giant speak­ers set up on his lawn. And the vil­lage store, run by the for­mi­da­ble Shan­non, proves to be a strange and un­wel­com­ing place. It sells repack­aged food, such as de­hy­drated chicken soup, which was in­tended for the mil­i­tary and doesn’t taste very nice.’

Even Steve and Nicky’s fel­low vil­lagers in Garth­dale don’t of­fer any so­lace. Some be­lieve in pay­ing in kind for work, which is no help to Nicky who’s try­ing to launch a gar­den­ing busi­ness. When she mows an el­derly lady’s huge lawn, she’s of­fered a cake in­stead of cash. Throw in the cou­ple’s ir­ri­tat­ing neigh­bours Matt and Meena, plus Nicky’s in­ter­fer­ing fa­ther Ken, and you have the po­ten­tial for ru­ral hell.

The six-part Bad Move, which was shot on lo­ca­tion in York­shire, was partly in­spired by Jack’s own mixed ex­pe­ri­ence of mov­ing to the coun­try. ‘My wife and I bought a house in Sus­sex and it proved to be too quiet and too re­mote, too iso­lat­ing as a way of life,’ Jack ex­plains. ‘And the gar­den in the morn­ing was car­nage! There was a pere­grine fal­con liv­ing nearby and it was a pro­lific killer, leav­ing car­casses ev­ery­where. I’d see more live birds near where I lived on Wandsworth Com­mon than I did in that gar­den.

‘For­tu­nately, we hadn’t com­pletely dis­man­tled our city life, we hadn’t sold the house in London and we hadn’t moved the kids out of school so we just came back to the city. It wasn’t all bad though. We had four good sum­mers at our cot­tage be­fore we sold up.’

Jack re­mained ex­cited enough by the con­cept of ru­ral liv­ing to keep watch­ing TV shows on the sub­ject. He and his wife Jane be­came big fans of BBC1’s Es­cape To The Coun­try, al­most to the point of ob­ses­sion, and that show too be­came an in­spi­ra­tion for Bad Move. ‘When we started to watch episodes back to back, I no­ticed a pat­tern emerg-

ing. Like Steve and Nicky, many of the couples were on their sec­ond mar­riages and try­ing to re-in­vent their lives. Frus­trat­ingly you’d never re­ally see the end of their sto­ries on Es­cape To The Coun­try. You never heard, “John and Janet bought the cot­tage and it was a to­tal dis­as­ter” which is just as likely an out­come as any other.

‘Bad Move is that end­ing, it’s that to­tal dis­as­ter, or at least it could be. Let’s see if Steve and Nicky adapt to coun­try liv­ing or re­main as frustrated by it as they are in the first episode.

‘But they have no choice but to try and make a go of it, thanks to un­scrupu­lous es­tate agents, ar­chi­tects and builders squeez­ing money out of them. At the very least, they’re go­ing to have to grin and bear it.’

MATT

(Miles Jupp) The Rawl­ings’ smug neigh­bour, his house has a bet­ter in­ter­net con­nec­tion and he soon gets on their nerves. MEENA (Man­jin­der Virk) Matt’s wife makes her own yo­ghurt and man­ages to get the lo­cal store to sell her daugh­ter’s badly made pots. GRIZZO (Seann Walsh) A flam­boy­ant pop star who owns a trac­tion en­gine, a quad bike, a he­li­copter and a pea­cock called El­ton. STEVE (Jack Dee) The graphic de­signer on his sec­ond mar­riage is keen to em­brace coun­try life but is frustrated at every turn.

NICKY

(Kerry Godli­man) Steve’s wife, a gar­dener, is on her sec­ond mar­riage too and fears the move may not be such a good idea.

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