For me, one of the surprise hits of last year, in terms of sitcoms, was Hebburn on BBC Two.
Starring Chris Ramsey, who at the time was 'that Geordie guy from all those panel shows', Kimberley Nixon from Fresh Meat and Jim Moir aka Vic Reeves, the sitcom follows the Pearson family, from the North Eastern town of Hebburn and their rather ambitious son Jack, who is played by Ramsey and is created by Geordie stand-up Jason Cook.
The first series averaged 1.2 million viewers across the six episodes and on the whole was received really well. I loved the first series and as the series went on I really warmed to Chris Ramsey and it was great to see Jim Moir back on telly too. So I guess there were no real surprises when a second series, AND a Christmas special were were announce. Series two starts on Tuesday night on BBC Two.
The very beginning of episode one makes us think that Joe, Jim Moir's character, is no longer with us. What makes us think that? Well the fact that everyone, apart from Joe are gathered at a funeral with mutterings such as; "He would have loved this your dad." "We should be celebrating the life, not crying over it." and "Poor Joe..." followed by sobbing. Pretty conclusive right? Wrong.
But luckily, Joe is alive and well and instead he's at home setting out the nibble for Betty's (not his) wake, having had to take things easy since suffering a stroke.
So who is this Betty who died then? Well, Betty is Dot's 'best friend' and Dot has high hopes that her death will allow her to leave the retirement home. But will the will be everything Dot had expected? Let's just say, that with a baby on the way, Jack and Sarah are desperate to move out of the family home and Betty's death may solve all their problems.
So what else is happening? Sarah is still pregnant and the hormones are playing havoc on her mood. Denise is also pregnant but her pregnancy is not that bad and has got her ravenous - "In more ways than one". Pauline has had to go back to work as and Estate Agent, although according to her mother is no good at it.
Everything I loved about the first series is the same for series two. Family sitcoms aren't easy to get right these days, Mrs Brown's Boys does it well, as does Citizen Khan, however sitcoms like Father Figure have failed miserably. But Hebburn absolutely gets it right. The Pearson family are relatable, warm and very funny. Sure they're dysfunctional, but then again, aren't sitcom families meant to be dysfunctional?
And this typical family set-up in a sitcom hasn't really been seen since Grandma's House which in my opinion was cruelly taken away from us. If the first couple of episodes are anything to go by then we're in for a real treat with this series and one that will hopefully lead to a third.