Heart­break­ingly hon­est gem is no or­di­nary sit­com

There She Goes BBC2 HHHHH


IDON’T know how to stop fail­ing.’ As a sum­mary of par­ent­ing – or even life – it’s painfully ac­cu­rate a lot of the time but not nec­es­sar­ily the sort of thing you’d ex­pect to find in a sit­com. Es­pe­cially de­liv­ered by a tear­ful David Ten­nant to the dad (Gre­gor Fisher) who aban­doned his fam­ily decades ear­lier. But There She Goes is no or­di­nary com­edy.

A se­ries about a fam­ily grap­pling with their youngest mem­ber’s un­di­ag­nosed learn­ing dis­abil­ity – which has left young Rosie (bril­liant Mi­ley Locke) with min­i­mal speech and the men­tal age of a tod­dler – could be maudlin or crass. But as it en­ters its sec­ond se­ries, There She Goes re­mains as­ton­ish­ingly ac­com­plished and af­fect­ing, as funny as it is bru­tally hon­est. No sur­prise, given the laughs are dragged from the real lives of cre­ators Shaun Pye and Sarah Craw­ford, whose daugh­ter has an un­di­ag­nosed chro­mo­so­mal con­di­tion.

The opener, once again, smartly cuts be­tween two time­lines. In grey, suf­fo­cat­ing 2007, par­ents Emily (Jes­sica Hynes) and Si­mon (Ten­nant) strug­gle to process their daugh­ter’s con­di­tion. Emily finds so­lace in pre­scrip­tion drugs and in their kind, pa­tient son (Edan Hay­hurst, em­a­nat­ing a warmth and wis­dom beyond his years) – while Si­mon favours booze and awk­ward jokes.

Mad, be­wil­der­ing 2017, mean­while, sees Rosie’s chal­leng­ing be­hav­iour bring them al­most as much plea­sure as her in­cre­men­tal progress in com­mu­ni­cat­ing, be­gin­ning with her first word (‘mama’, much to Si­mon’s cha­grin).

Their dilem­mas range from school fundrais­ers (‘it’s sports day at a spe­cial school, I’m pretty sure ev­ery­one’s tak­ing home a prize’) to the tech­ni­cal­i­ties of sar­casm in sign lan­guage.

Yet, how­ever par­tic­u­lar their sit­u­a­tion is, the strug­gles of re­la­tion­ships, grief, com­mu­ni­ca­tion (or the lack of it) and the im­por­tance of bal­anc­ing re­al­ism with hope feel ab­so­lutely univer­sal.

It’s a gor­geous gem, flaw­lessly per­formed and beau­ti­fully writ­ten. Pye and Craw­ford know just when to pull back from de­spair with a good joke, or spike the silli­ness with a mo­ment that sim­ply breaks your heart. I hope they’ll keep go­ing for a few se­ries yet.


Flaw­less: Ten­nant and cast

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