Starring: Darren Boyd, Fay Ripley, Aisling Bea
In this enjoyable fish out of water comedy, Darren Boyd plays Matthew, an ex-copper starting a new job as part of an all-female midwife team. Kindly and diffident and sticking out like a sore thumb because of his tall, gangly build, he soon finds himself wrestling with some tricky situations – a heavily pregnant convicted criminal, a WAG nervous of the paparazzi, a bloke dividing his time between his wife and his equally with-child mistress. On top of that, it’s not easy fitting in with his fellow midwives – hostile veteran Pat (Llewella Gideon), rude youngster Tash (Jennie Jacques) and his lovelorn boss Caitlin (Fay Ripley), who’s separated from her husband and is on the prowl for a replacement. To make matters worse, his embarrassingly maladroit flatmate Ian (Paddy McGuinness) gets a job as a security officer at the maternity unit. On the plus side, though, he quickly embarks upon a mild flirtation with feisty colleague Lisa (Aisling Bea), who’s refreshingly normal and level-headed … apart from the fact that she has an ultra-violent boyfriend.
There’s no shortage of things going on, then, but for Matthew the main problem is getting through an ordinary conversation, as he only has to open his mouth to find himself entangled in non sequiturs and comical misunderstandings. Just occasionally these exchanges become a little bit too traditionally sitcomy, but on the whole the verbal dexterity of the writing is a delight, and it’s endlessly fascinating to watch Matthew’s attempts at friendly banter sliding out of control and turning into conversational car wrecks.
Darren Boyd is in his element as Matthew, combining new man meekness with flashes of impatience and sarcasm, and he’s well-matched by an excellent cast. Stars Fay Ripley and Paddy McGuinness are good sports in the way they throw themselves with gusto into their roles, the former quivering with menopausal hot flushes at the mere thought of Matthew, the latter lumbering around the maternity ward like a particularly dim-witted bull in a china shop. There’s also eye-catching work from Jennie Jacques as the scatterbrained Tash, who gives the impression of having been born yesterday herself. In the end, though, it’s through the easy chemistry between Boyd and Aisling Bea, and the girl next door charm of her performance, that the show really delivers. 7/10