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I TALK Count Arthur Strong (Series 2)

Now that Miranda and Not Going Out have both ended and Mrs Brown's Boys only returning for specials at Christmas, BBC One are desperate to find a sitcom that rates well.

Luckily Still Open All Hours has proved that it can do just that. The series launched on Boxing Day and became the most watched programme of the day, and episode two rated even higher than the Boxing Day episode.

Another sitcom they hope will rate well is Graham Lineman's (Father TedThe IT CrowdCount Arthur Strong, which debuted on BBC Two in July 2013 will perform well on the main channel as it returns for a second series.

The series began life as a BBC Radio 4 comedy before transferring to TV, and follows the world of ex-variety star Count Arthur Strong, played by Steve Delaney, who is livened up by the arrival of Michael (Rory Kinnear, Southcliffe), the son of his old comedy partner.

The first series was critically very well received, however it didn't rate very well and I have a feeling that the time slot chosen for series 2 might prevent Count Arthur Strong from becoming the hit the BBC want it to be. Count Arthur Strong has a real potential to strike a chord with a mainstream audience but I doubt it's going to do that at 10:35pm on a Tuesday evening.

Moving the show from BBC Two to BBC One from is a big statement to make, but the BBC have (in my opinion) let the show down by not choosing a better time slot for the series, 8:30pm or 9pm on a Friday night for example would be better. It's a shame and of course time will tell as to whether or not the show will rate well but I can't help but think the scheduling will prevent it from doing so.

So scheduling worries aside, what can we expect from the second series? Well if you were a fan of the first series, you'll be pleased to hear that you're in for more of the same madcap comedy.

It's all go in the first episode of the series as Michael returns to the café suffering from writer's block, only to find that Count Arthur has written a novel. When the book turns out to be full of salacious gossip, drastic measures are required to retrieve it from Michael's agent... and there's only one way to do that of course, a heist!

And in the second episode of the series, the clocks have gone back, forcing Bulent to close his café of the day following the dramas of previous years where Count Arthur couldn't come to terms with the clocks going back.

So what does Count Arthur do this year? He takes a flying lesson of course, and his broken heart and an inability to get his head around the concept of the clocks going back leads to a terrifying mix-up at 2000 feet. I'm sure you can imagine what happens...

I along with many others, was taken aback by how enjoyable the first series of Count Arthur Strong was and I'm pleased to say that the second series has exactly the same effect. It's funny, it's fleeced and the genius that is Graham Linehan is behind it all so what more do you want? Well... a better time slot, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon.

Count Arthur Strong starts Tuesday 6th January at 10:35pm on BBC One


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