The rise of the UKTV network has quietly occurred over the last few years. Clever rebranding and marketing of the channels has seen them challenge more established rivals, blending mainstream hits with cult classics. Original programming was a natural next step, with Dave and Watch in particular using their acquirement of a loyal demographic to make tailor-made shows.

G.O.L.D seemed slower on the uptake when it came to this phase, although they have made one dip into this pool with You, Me & Them, a sitcom based around an older man in a serious relationship with a much younger woman and their respective families. Nothing original in the set-up I agree, but something must be working as it is now on to its second series. I must admit to missing the first but have managed to fit into my busy viewing schedule this time around.

I feel I must get some negatives out of the way first. Ok, one negative, but it is a big one. Every single character, bar the central couple, are annoying and stereotypical. We have not one, but two, idiotic brother-in-laws, both essentially children in adult bodies, yet we assume they are capable of holding down jobs. One even wears a suit for his, so we must assume he has some level of responsibility. The grandparents who have settled into a boring routine and get into ‘mishaps’ whenever they break out of it (seriously, has Last Tango in Halifax left no legacy?). The smart-yet-also-silly daughter, who just so happens to also be dating another exceptionally dim male whose main topic of conversation is his own genitals. Somewhere along the way we are supposed to find them all sweet and loveable, but like leading man Ed, I feel the urge to scream at them all.

Yet, somehow despite all of this, I feel charmed by it. It harkens back to the traditional sitcom set-ups to make you feel safe. Despite its post-watershed time slot, it is no more risqué than any other recent family comedy. Yet it also avoids the irritating recorded laughter often associated with this genre, and the plots stay just about on the right side of ludicrous to keep everything feeling real. Also, Anthony Head and Eve Myles do a good job playing the leads, although your overwhelming emotion for them is sympathy.

So in light of this, should G.O.L.D. keep making original programmes? Absolutely. You, Me & Them, despite my issues with it, hits more than it misses. Moreover, the channels recent Gold After Dark could provide a home for more experimental works. A few successes could see it start to rival American counterpart Comedy Central, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

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