01 November 2015

Nighty Night

Nighty Night is a rather dark British comedy which was originally broadcast on the BBC from January 2004 onwards. There have been two series, and it would seem from the ending of the second series that while it's not entirely out of the question, it's unlikely to be back for a third.

The show's writer and star is Julia Davis, who'll be familiar to many comedy fans from Chris Morris' Jam series, Human Remains in which she starred with Rob Brydon, and the sketch programme Big Train. The programme, actually, has much in common with the Jam style of humour - when I said 'dark British comedy', I meant it.

Jill Tyrell, the focus of the series, is essentially a sociopath. She manipulates those around her ruthlessly, and by the end of the first series she's been instrumental in the murder of an increasing number of people. I don't want to spoil anything, so we'll be vague about the exact number. Regardless, things continue: by the end of the second series, she's kidnapped a baby, hacked a young girl's nose off, run down and subsequently impersonated an innocent woman, and accused an eleven year old boy of rape. She manages to tear apart a couple of relationships, systematically bullies and abuses a woman with MS, and holds an elaborate funeral for her still-living husband, whose slow recovery from cancer doesn't quite fit in with Jill's plans for a bachelorette lifestyle.

It doesn't sound that funny, actually, does it? Cancer, murder, rape and a large carrier bag full of dog poo. But, oh, it is! Honestly - if you've enjoyed the slightly off the wall humour of The League Of Gentlemen or Jam, you'll take to Nighty Night like a duck to a particularly dark and menacing body of water.

Series 1 and 2 are both available on DVD here in the UK, and Amazon.com carries a region 1 version aimed at the US market. Indeed, there are rumoured plans for a US version, directed by the guy who does Sex And The City, Darren Star. So far it hasn't materialised, and given the track record for taking successful UK comedies and remaking them in the US, that might not be a bad thing.


Julia Davis - Jill Tyrell
Kevin Eldon - Terry Tyrell
Angus Deayton - Don Cole
Rebecca Front - Cathy Cole
Mark Gatiss - Glen Bulb
Ruth Jones - Linda
Michael Fenton Stevens - Gordon Fox
Felicity Montagu - Sue Fox

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