Cuckoo (BBC Three) Episode 1 Review

cuckoo bbc3 cast photo

The series premiere of BBC3’s Cuckoo, appropriately titled ‘Homecoming’, shows a lot of promise even if most of the characters are utterly repugnant to spend time with.

With all of the glitz and glamour going on over at BBC1, their youth-targeted offshoot is all too often ignored, but Cuckoo is one of the better examples of a comedy to emerge from the channel and should prove a success for all involved. Tapping into the topical markets of prospective students and anxious parents, the series attempts to deal with a situation that should strike fear into many a parental heart. Rachel, a promising student returning from her gap year to study medicine at Bristol University, actually comes back with a husband and brand new laidback attitude.

The show’s unlikely star performer is The Inbetweeners‘ Greg Davies, who returns to scripted television after building his profile in stand-up over the last couple of years. The actor does withering looks like no one else can right now, and is perfect for the disapproving father of Rachel, desperately trying to claw back his beloved overachieving daughter. Watching him attempt at first to bond with his new son-in-law, and then to manipulate him out of their lives forever, is hugely entertaining, and his dynamic with the flighty, arrogant, Cuckoo is the show’s main strength.

Cuckoo himself is less of an immediate success, and I sincerely hope he’s developed further over the course of the series. Essentially kind-hearted and loving to Rachel, he’s the sort of recognisable archetype that most of us avoid at all costs. With the current economy and dire situation for future students in the UK, this kind of situation may well become a thing of the past, and men like Cuckoo a dying stereotype. The opening scene in which he and Rachel meet is brilliantly conceived, locking eyes over the top of her drunk friend’s head, and will be all too familiar for those people who did undertake a gap year before university.

Will he end up writing the most important book of the 21st Century? We don’t yet know, but for the time being he’ll be selling jacket potatoes out of the back of a van. Saturday Night Live‘s Andy Samberg brings a lot of life to the part and his Hollywood sheen rubs off against the mundane nature of BBC comedy to great affect over the course of this first half-hour. Most importantly, this premiere episode gets plenty of genuine laughs, and has enough heart to measure up.

What did you think of Cuckoo? Does the talented cast cover up it’s obvious flaws? Let me know in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter @carolinepreece