Another three episodes of Victoria Wood's self-penned situation comedy. In 'Moods', tensions run high in the canteen and Stan seeks solace by locking himself in the loo. 'Party' sees Bren dolling herself up for the Japanese-themed Christmas party, but will tonight be her night? In 'Night Shift', the staff walk out in protest at the methods employed by Tony's stand-in canteen supervisor, Nicola Bodeux.
This tape presents the second half of the first series of Dinnerladies
, Victoria Wood's self-penned sitcom set in a Northern works canteen. Holding it all together is Wood as Bren, well meaning, entirely guileless and not especially bright, but still an intellectual beacon besides Twinkle (Maxine Peake), who in "Moods" has reason to think she may be pregnant following an encounter with the pizza man. The episode has a star turn from Julie Walters as Bren's absolutely fabulous mum. And of course this heavily female comedy does share with Absolutely Fabulous
(1992-6) the horrors of suffering mad-mother-syndrome. Walters is back for "Party", naturally enough about the Christmas Party. This is the funniest of the three episodes, raising the non sequitur to a comic art, though "Nightshift" is surprisingly moving in an Ealing comedy "let's-all-pull-together" sort of way. This being an ensemble piece there are fine performances from all concerned, though inevitably Wood herself gives the outstanding turn and Celia Imrie is wonderful as middle-class Philippa. Laugh out loud stuff all the way, Dinnerladies
revitalised the traditional innuendo-laden sitcom with fast banter and sublime, sometimes surreal, dialogue. The The Royle Family
(1998) simultaneously offered a more docusoap-comic take on modern working class life. --Gary S. Dalkin