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I TALK Catherine Tate’s Nan

It's hard to believe that it's been almost 10 years since Joannie Taylor better known as Nan, first burst onto our screens in The Catherine Tate Show.

At the start of last year (4th January 2014), she snuck up on us all with a BBC One special called Catherine Tate's Nan, a 35-minute special featuring only Nan.

Following the success of that one-off special, the BBC (quite rightly) asked for more and this Christmas, Nan returns for two more specials.

For those of you who have never watched The Catherine Tate Show it was a brilliant sketch show full of some excellent characters including full-of-attitude teenager Lauren "Am I bovvered?" Cooper, Derek Faye, an obviously gay man in denial about his sexuality and of course Joannie "Nan" Taylor, a foul-mouthed grandmother best-know for saying "What a load of old shit!" or "What a fucking liberty!"

It was no surprise when a spin-off of the sketch show was announced, that Nan was the character chosen to go it alone. Together with Lauren Cooper she was my favourite character in the series, and as Lauren died at the end of series three it could only have ever been Nan.

In the first of the two specials, Nanger Management (see what they did there?), Nan's aggressive attitude to harmless pensioners finally gets her into trouble with the police and she’s forced to attend anger management classes.

When the course leader turns up, played by Warwick Davis (Life's Too Short), Nan can see that he has issues of his own and it's not long before he's reveals all... but in true Joannie fashion, caring is not something she's able to do!

Aside from a very badly timed and distasteful joke about ISIS, the first episode is excellent and hits all the right spots. The first episode flies by and all I can say is THANK GOD there's a second episode to devour!

In the second episode, Knees Up Wilmott-Brown, the freehold on Nan's block of flats in the East End has been bought up by ruthless property developers. It's safe to say that the residents are not happy and all join together to fight for their survival... When I say 'all' I of course don't mean Joannie Taylor.

Because she bought her own flat in the eighties, Nan finds herself in a unique position of power over the developers and their oily representative, the unfortunate Charles Wilmott.

It fair to say that Nan and Charles Wilmott do not get on, so what the outcome will be is anyone's guess! She gets so involved that she even makes an appearance on Newsnight, and thanks to a spot of wind, it's most certainly a memorable television appearance!

The Catherine Tate Show existed at a time when sketch shows, especially on the BBC were great, these days you'd be hard pushed to find one! Together with Little Britain, the two shows were the biggest sketch shows on telly.

The fact that 12 years on one of the characters can still resonate with not only the original audience (like myself) but also with new audience's whose only encounter with the character could well be through the Catherine Tate's Nan specials.

There's always a worry that bringing things back after the height of its peak could tarnish the original and the memory many have. Thankfully Catherine Tate's Nan does neither and is a real joy to watch, from start to finish.

I'm pleased that Catherine Tate opted for a single character spin-off as opposed to a revival of the sketch show.

I've often thought that rather than bringing Gavin & Stacey back for example, a spin-off focussing just on Smithy would be excellent, after all he more than delivered on those Comic Relief and Sport Relief specials.

Same for Little Britain, I'm not sure bringing the sketch show back as it was would be a particularly good idea but I'd be open to watching a Vicky Pollard or Lou and Andy spin-off for example. But in the mean time... fingers crossed for more episodes of Catherine Tate's Nan!

Catherine Tate's Nan airs Sunday 27th December and Wednesday 30th December at at 10:25pm on BBC One


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