What is this massive guilt-trip with working-class people who get famous?

Craig Cash, Steve Coogan, Bernard Hill and the rest of the cast of this maudling, sentimental tripe about the loveable working-classes in the North appear to lose their critical faculties when it comes to this sort of stuff.

I have to confess I only made it through the first episode. But it was clear from the first five minutes what rubbish it was going to be. Steve Coogan plays a loveable family man and gambler called Bob Crosby. ‘Bing’, they call him here in the first of many examples of Royle Family and Early Doors writer Craig Cash running out of ideas.

He sells the television to pay for gambling and spends most of his wages on gambling the week after his wife has given birth to their first baby. Back in real life, this would make him a cunt. But in loveable ‘TV Northland’ its fine because he sings her a song in the lovably working-class club they go to and everyone sings along. ‘What a character he is’, we’re supposed to think. What a load of absolute shite.

I love Steve Coogan as a comedy actor, but he shows his limitations in this and you can see him constantly struggling to reign in his Partridgeisms. Maybe he’d have been better with a decent script. Or a good Director. Or a less misty-eyed ‘how great it is to come from a housing estate in the North’ cast. But that’s all academic. This is just by-the-numbers, condescending rubbish. I can only guess that the people involved in it are now so far removed from their backgrounds that they really believe this is a fair representation of the North. 

TV people love all this sort of shit though. It saves them from ever venturing up there out of curiosity. Of course, there are many very good examples – The Royle Family, Early Doors, some Alan Bennett, some of Alan Bleasdale’s stuff ( though I’ve been watching his stuff again recently and it dates quite badly).

In case you’re wondering, TV Northland includes:

  • A working-man’s pub/social club where people from all ages mingle – like that bar in Star Wars except the females are less attractive.
  • A Coronation Street type street where everyone lives and grew up together.
  • A central character who is going through a tough time but deals with it by displaying his plucky northern sense of humour.
  • A father who is timid but loveable and has a secret. A quite loveable secret. And a shed.
  • A mother who is initially stern but loveable. She secretly knows about both the secret and the shed.
  • Our main character’s loveable best-mate from school. And his wife who is best-mates-from-school with our main character’s loveable wife. Our main character’s loveable wife may well be also be best-mates with our main character’s loveable best-mate from school. ( I hope you’re following all this, it’s important).
  • Someone official who is a cunt. We know he is a cunt because he has a different accent (usually Southern) and wears a shirt and tie. His job is to take away the shed/reveal the secret/break up the loveable working-class friendships.

With the pedigree of the acting and writing involved in this, we really should expect something much much better. I felt patronised enough watching it, and I’m Scottish. I hate to think how I’d feel if I actually came from the North of England.

Stay in your sheds until it clouds over again.

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25 Responses to “Sunshine”

  1. wally bazoom Says:

    Do you live in or are you from the North, just out of interest.

  2. Toothed Varmint Says:

    I only managed the 1st episode too. Mawkish and pointless.
    Love Coogan too. Actually, that’s not quite correct. I love Partridge, Coogan I can take or leave. I wonder if he does another Partridge at all. Saxondale was not that bad, but not in the same league as Alan. I really miss AP, I do.

  3. Swineshead Says:

    He’s Scottish, as he mentioned in the article Wally…

  4. GBB Says:

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t find Alan Par…sorry, Steve Coogan, at all amusing or remotely synonymous with the word “good” in anything he’s done. I’ll say it…I don’t like Alan Partridge. It didn’t make me laugh like Sunshine didn’t make me want to watch another episode.

  5. wally bazoom Says:

    Scotland is near Preston, isn’t it?

    Well anyway, I haven’t watched the show but the descriptions of communities in this article seem quite familiar to me. Just wondering on what basis the reviewer has for disparaging their validity.

  6. Toothed Varmint Says:

    A very good analysis of TV North, I think. All stereotypes present and correct.

  7. Swineshead Says:

    I don’t know where he is to argue his case. Being Scotch he’s probably burying his savings in the garden.

    GBB – that’s your loss I’m afraid… do you like similar stuff of that ilk?

  8. Swineshead Says:

    Well – Mingles’ no show has rather killed this thread, eh what?

    *kicks dust*

  9. Clarry Says:

    Think he’s next door still.

  10. Toothed Varmint Says:

    Is it the same Bernard Hill who played the King of Rohan in Two Towers? It is, isn’t it?

  11. Clarry Says:

    Missed the third one. Is BH dead yet? I thought that was gonna happen in ep 2. God it’s just one long ball of misery.

  12. charliemingles Says:

    yes, was next-door …

    *whistles into the void*

    maybe the north is exactoly like that. I doubt it though. any northerners in?

  13. Swineshead Says:

    Wally lives in The North. I used to but ran away.

  14. Swineshead Says:

    Did anyone see that series about modelling where the northern, working class beauty got picked up by a modelling agency and suddenly they went RICH?

    It was alright.

  15. charliemingles Says:

    its almost 5 on friday SH. Us young cool popular people have better things to do than hang around here …

  16. Toothed Varmint Says:

    Good weekend to all!

  17. Swineshead Says:

    *has gone*

  18. charliemingles Says:

    *is far too young and popular to even check the comments section these days*

  19. ugeine Says:

    What are we up to friends? What shall we do now then? Oh.

    *hits F5*

  20. goerge Says:

    forgot to comment on the article. fantastic, had me in stitches with the bullet point descriptions of Northern Towns in television.

  21. daveselectricblanket Says:


  22. bumavenger Says:

    I only liked Steve Coogan when he was being Paul/Pauline Calf. Everything has been a letdown since. Why doesn’t he do Paul Calf any more?

  23. Gilbert Wham Says:

    I do live in the north, and believe me, you do not want to go anywhere near a street where everyone grew up together, as they will fucking kill you and eat you. For example, the street where my sister used to live, the local kids would have a cheery bonfire of a summer’s eve. In the middle of the fucking road. I swear, they were standing round it with spears like something out of lord of the flies.

  24. Do I not like that! Says:

    More strange happenings! (Q again). Chelsea lose and Spurs win.

    (Best piece of English I have heard for along while……”beated Chelsea”)
    ………..J. Carrgaher.

  25. wally bazoom Says:

    I live in a street among streets where many people grew up together. They’re really nice. Also, they have a definable pluckness about their humour. Plus all my local boozers are generally mixed age – it’s common to see 6 year olds and their grandparents in there of a saturday night.

    But then I am fond of regional stereoyping, which is why I stay away from Scotland as I detest shortbread, heroin and streetbound violence.

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