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I TALK Friday Night Dinner (Series 3)

For some reason, Channel 4 decided that Sunday night was the perfect time to show the second series of a comedy called Friday Night Dinner. Why? I'll never know. However I'm pleased to say that the show is about to return for a third series on a... yes, you guessed it... Friday night. Hurrah!

So although Friday Night Dinner is already into its third run, some of you may not have seen it before. So here's a bit of a quick overview. The comedy is based around the Jewish tradition, where every Friday night the family get together for dinner. The family in question consists of Mum and Dad, played by Tamsin Greig (Episodes) and Paul Ritter (Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This), and their two sons; Adam, played by Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners) and Jonny, played by Tom Rosenthal (Plebs).

Not forgetting of course their rather eccentric neighbour Jim, played by the brilliant Mark Heap (Spaced) and his dog Wilson, Aunty Val, who is played by Tracy Ann-Oberman, best known for playing Chrissie Watts in EastEnders, and finally, who could forget their grandma who is played by Frances Cuka (Crossroads).

It's rare these days for a comedy to reach the third series. Several stop at two, or even one - sometimes that's the right decision, sometimes it's not. In the case of Friday Night Dinner though, giving it a third series was absolutely the right thing to do.

As Tom Rosenthal recently said in an interview - "If you loved the first two series, you'll love this one. If you didn't then you won't like this one as it's pretty much more of the same." - and he's right! But when more of the same means more of the funny and great one-liners, then who are we to complain?

It's a shame actually, that Friday Night Dinner isn't as widely known or loved as say Peep Show or The IT Crowd because in terms of its writing and performances it definitely should be. When you watch a comedy, you expect to laugh. That's obvious right? But you'd be surprised at how many comedies don't actually make you laugh but rather smirk, or go - "Hmm. That was funny." without actually laughing. But with Friday Night Dinner I guarantee that the relationship between the two brothers, and their relationship with their mum and dad will have you laughing out loud.

So what exactly happens in the new series? Well, the first episode sees Adam (finally) bring a girl home, called Emma (Sophia DiMartino and she definitely has the potential to be marriage material.

He doesn't just bring her home to say hello to his parents, oh no, he invites her over to Friday night dinner, which in hindsight probably wasn't the best plan. As you can imagine, and in true Friday Night Dinner fashion, the meal doesn't exactly go to plan, when not watching Adam's washing his feet in the toilet (no, really. That happens), she's left feeling more and more uncomfortable as she watches an 8-year-old girl try and steal Adam away from her.

Things don't go swimmingly for Adam either as he's not sure how to react when Emma's sister keeps sending him sexy pics of herself. And you can imagine how once Jonny finds out and makes several "What's on your phone?" quips across the table, not reacting to the pics he's receiving becomes pretty difficult.

The 8-year-old in question is called Katie and after her mum is rushed to hospital, Adam is drafted in to babysit. But Katie only has one thing on her mind - Make Adam her boyfriend. And she very nearly succeeds. When she finds the photos from Emma's sister on his phone, she puts make-up on Adam and makes him sit on his back while he barks like a dog, and makes sure he's holding her hand at all times otherwise she'll tell Emma all about the photos.

In the second episode, the boys come over for Friday night dinner and to their horror find that their dad has been hiding a dead fox in the outside freezer! Why? Because he wants to stuff it and stick it in his garden shed and have it as a 'talking point'. I'm thinking more 'repellent' than 'talking point', but whatever.

So whilst dad is busy hiding a dead fox, mum has doing a counselling course and driving the men mad as she looks for every opportunity to practice her counselling out on them. That's the least of their troubles though as when mum needs to use the freezer, the race is on hide the dead fox somewhere other than the freezer. The boys help, as long as they're paid... obviously.

One question, where would one hide a dead fox? Well, if you're Jonny and Adam, under a chair in the dining room, just before a big Friday night dinner is clearly the perfect place. With the dead fox just five feet away the men try to act normal, but when neighbour Jim comes spots the animal straight away the dead fox ends up in the back of Aunty Val's car and in true Friday Night Dinner she drives off with the fox in the back! Don't want to give away the ending but hilarity most definitely does ensue.

I think that whoever cast Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal as the two brothers in Friday Night Dinner got it absolutely right. Their chemistry is brilliant and the pair of them are undeniably the starts of the show, helped along by Robert Popper's fantastic writing.

Yes there are several similarities between Adam and Will from The Inbetweeners, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as Simon Bird's acting style definitely suits a character like Adam in Friday Night Dinner.

Rosenthal is great too and although he's been around for a few years now, and Plebs has done well for him on ITV2, I do think his time is yet to come and he's a very promising young comedy actor. Friday Night Dinner is perhaps just the start for him and as your first TV gigs go, it's a very good one.

So, like I say, if you were a fan of the first two series or fancy a funny alternative to the World Cup, Friday Night Dinner is the perfect show for you. Friday night's are back. Only don't wait to have your dinner whilst you watch it as a) it's on at 10pm and b) I wouldn't recommend eating and laughing.

Friday Night Dinner returns to Fridays at 10pm on Channel 4

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