Another month, another reason to save BBC Three. This time it’s brand new sitcom Together.
Created and written by Jonny Sweet (Chickens, Babylon), Together tells the story of two young people who are in the very early stages of a relationship.
The series is based on Jonny's BBC Radio 4 series Hard To Tell which ran for two series (2011-2013), and told a very similar story.
Jonny has managed to secure most of the same cast he had on the radio for the television series, with Alex MacQueen (The Inbetweeners) and Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On) returning to play Tom's parents, Ashley and Lesley, and Katy Wix (Not Going Out) returns to play his older sister and confidante Maeve who doesn’t expect much from Tom’s future.
There have been a couple of cast changes though. On the radio, Tom's love interest Ellen, was played by Fresh Meat actress Charlotte Ritchie, and her best friend Hermione was played by Him & Her actress Sarah Solemani.
For the television series they have been replaced by the wonderful Cara Theobold (The Syndicate) who takes on the role of Ellen and best friend Hermione who is now played by Sarah Daykin (Chickens).
Also joining the cast is Jaz Deol who plays Ellen's ever-present ex-boyfriend, Luke, who earns £70k a year working for the UN, and claims to speak half a dozen languages.
So how did Tom and Ellen meet? Well, it’s a classic love story, she’s sat on top of a wheelie bin and their eyes meet as he cycles past. The day after, she opens her car door to get out just as Tom cycles past knocking him off his bike. Ah... true love.
When Tom gets home after his fall, mum Lesley is understandably concerned, worried that a knock on the head might turn him into a plumber! After all, that’s what happened to Joyce’s boy. Meanwhile, his dad Ashley is more concerned that Lesley’s rhubarb yoghurt will go tepid, or “Ruby Yog” as he likes to call it, and just wants to un-pause the telly so that he can watch Masterchef.
The casting of Alex MacQueen and Vicki Pepperdine as Tom’s parents is truly inspired. They’re not your average couple, well actually, what I mean is that they are your average couple, just not your average TV couple.
They’re not all lovey dovey, in fact when we first meet them he’s calling her a psychopath whilst she refers to him as "a hoarder who belongs in a shock doc”. Lesley more than anyone I adore, and that’s right from the word go. She undoubtedly gets the best one-liners for example we find out that Nana is "living in sheltered accommodation with a Hitachi TV living the f’ing dream”, and one of my favourite lines from the entire series has to be when she describes her son as a "tit in trainers”.
Describing Ellen to his parents, Tom describes her as “pretty fit”, whereas speaking to Hermione, Ellen opts for “unusual” when describing Tom, noticing when he retched and dribbled when she hit him with her car door.
It’s then that they both recall where they’d seen each other before, by the wheelie bins. Honestly, it’s the Romeo & Juliet draft Shakespeare never released.
As the series goes on we get to see Tom and Ellen's relationship grow and what’s nice is that by the end of the final episode you really want to be able to follow their rather sweet journey further.
I’ve always rated Jonny Sweet, only ever really knowing him from small parts in Him & Her, The Inbetweeners, Twenty Twelve and slightly larger roles in Babylon and Chicken, however I’m sure that after Together airs a lot more people will know who he is and the roles he gets offered will only get bigger.
So whether or not BBC Three still exists in a few months time I really hope Together will return for a second series and follow in the very successful footsteps of The Mighty Boosh, Count Arthur Strong and Little Britain, which all began on BBC Radio 4.