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Roger and Val have just been broadcast

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David Thair | 15:00 UK time, Friday, 13 August 2010

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Beth Kilcoyne, co-writer of Roger and Val have Just Got In, writes...

Exactly as I predicted, the day your show goes out for the first time feels like both a wedding and a court appearance.  All day I looked at all the other people who weren't me and felt like I was...not underwater maybe, but breathing slower air.  "Are you excited?  You must be?" Loads of people asked me that and it sounded audible but unintelligible, like a foreign language, though I could work out a little of what they meant.  It's a very strange feeling watching it being broadcast.  I'm trying to think how to describe it: I would say when it was on I fully believed that it was only on my personal screen and to think it was on everyone else's was ridiculous.  

"Auntie Dorothy loves it!" / "Auntie Pat loves it!" / "Sue over the road loves it!  Says will definitely tune in next week." These are three of about thirty similar texts I got from my Mum as Roger and Val ended. Obviously, it would've been more of a surprise to have "Auntie Dorothy in shock Roger and Val rebellion" pinging in and that's why we have to have critics. 

Fair enough. I woke up too early on both Saturday and Sunday mornings and lay there hard awake, desperately wishing Sue Over The Road was the TV critic for The Times.  There was no way out - Dawn French and Fred Molina were in this show, it would definitely be reviewed. 

My partner I thought was very manly and without any prompting got up both mornings to get the papers and look through them on my behalf.  I could hear him pacing around downstairs as I found my most comforting position was to kneel flat out under the quilt with my hands gripping the end of the mattress for support. I'm hoping to do better this week.

In tonight's episode Roger and Val have a row. I fully believe Val to be in the right and Roger needs to chill out. However, he is not as unreasonable as he at first appears and a deeper, horrific happening at work is to blame for his tension. As you'll see, from beginning to end, a pack of fishfingers causes no end of trouble and I feel Val definitely deserves her pizza.  In fact if you fancy a take away tonight this episode will fully support your decision and remove any feelings of guilt. Because terrible things can happen when you cook a boring tea...  

This episode is the last to just drop tiny hints, before we make it completely clear next week what this show is really about and where it's going to go. A few critics have, rightly, wondered if comedy about "getting in" was enough to sustain a full series. The answer is no, it isn't.  Roger and Val is a comedy but it is also a drama, and it is a drama about a terrible tragedy.  We made it as a comedy because we all felt comedy can get you through a lot in life; having a laugh is rarely a bad thing. I hope we give you one tonight if you are tuning in.

Beth Kilcoyne co-wrote Roger and Val Have Just Got In with her sister Emma. Watch the second episode tonight - Friday 13th August at 10pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    Can't wait. Really interested to read this. Knew there was something else to it. The calm last week had a danger to it. Can't wait for episode 2 of this brilliant, original, hilarious new show. Clever comedy is where it's at. Thank you BBC for the classiest piece of TV in years.

  • Comment number 2.

    A review I read said it was 'more sit than com' and I have to agree. The laughs did not come for me. It was like watching 2 people in a room just talking crap. In fact they reminded me of a couple I know but they are a lot more funny to listen to. Dire.

  • Comment number 3.

    The fact that Roger and Val can remind viewers of people they know, and the conversations they have had, is precisely the point of the TV show. The conversation was perfect; so familiar and true, and so absurd at the same time. It was like getting a glimpse into the everyday life of your next door neighbour (and yourself). French and Molina were both mesmerising. I agree with Gill, this is fantastic and clever television - more like this please.

  • Comment number 4.

    I loved the first episode of this show and have now seen the second. This time I did laugh out loud at a couple of points but the joy of it is the inteliigent writing and the great acting. Anyone who can't love Roger and Val has no heart. I want to live next door to them!

  • Comment number 5.

    Great show but why are Roger and Val childless? Although there have been hints about a child in their life, so was it kidnapped? I feel the child being dead a little to extreme and off putting to be honest. I can only hope for a reunion between them all.

  • Comment number 6.

    Play - yes, comedy - absolutely not. This is well produced and acted but is dull and boring - depressing even. Comedy has died in the BBC, we can only rely on satire to raise a laugh these days.

  • Comment number 7.

    Loved episode 2 which was the first one I viewed. Will now have to go back to see episode 1 if it is on iplayer.

    Presume that is the baby in the photo ? We had many episodes of One Foot in the Grave before their child (and the loss of him) was mentioned so I am glad this is moving more quickly.

    Brilliant stuff

  • Comment number 8.

    i think this comedy will gradually take some time to settle in perhaps it is better suited for gentle sun night viewing

  • Comment number 9.

    I like the way in which the relationship between Val and Roger is so subtly defined. They love each other but are trying to deal with a personality problem in Roger which neither seems to really understand or know quite how to deal with it. I don't see the show as a comedy but there is gentle humour in the way in which the characters interact with each other. I agree with FRG's comment that their conversation is "so familiar and true, and so absurd at the same time."

  • Comment number 10.

    Do we know you? Why are you writing about our lives?
    My husband and I watched this together and sadly empeathised with it-especially the "big drawer " bit. As to making a comedy or drama about "getting in" , I think that this is perfectly valid and a brilliant idea. This is a very dangerous part of each day where all the problems that have been building up with other people can come to a head having finally found someone you can share them with and or take it out on! Loved the insight into how it feels to have a series aired.
    All the best for the future.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am loving "Roger and Val". Didn't think something so simple could be so pleasurable to watch. After tonights episode (20th Aug) I do think there's gunna be some tears in the coming weeks :'(
    Well done to the writers. it's brill!!

  • Comment number 12.

    I've watched the first couple of episodes Roger & Val Have Just Got In and to be honest it looked like a bit of gentle 'Sunday night' sitcom that lacked any real direction, but was really none the worse for it.

    However, last night Roger & Val shifted into focus. The first three episodes that I'd thought were just slightly pedestrian sitcom, became the first three acts of a deeply tragic play.

    There's more to Roger & Val than first meets the eye.

  • Comment number 13.

    I caught episode 2 and just had to watch ep 1 on iplayer. I love everything about this programme the acting, the writing, the interraction between the actors. There is an undercurrent of something else going on - what the final frame shows, the childs chair and then this week the photo - is really powerful, you just want to know what their story is, I feel sorry for those who dont get it, they are missing something great. More of this please. I have never commented on a tv show before, but am really moved by this. Thanks

  • Comment number 14.

    I have watched all the episodes so far very carefully and love the use of the set. I was bowled over by the simplicity of the 'photo shot and it's impact on the growing drama behind the comedy. The first showing of said 'photo Val could be holding anything - a kitten, one of Roger's precious cuttings - anything - but it introduced the tradegy slowly and therefore with more impact. I steeled myself to watch this weeks episode as I just knew the spare bedroom held a huge significance for Val and Roger and the use of the ceiling light was inspirational and deeply moving. The shot of the two empty kagols laying side by side on the bed was very poignant. I sobbed along with Val in the last but one shot and howled with the end shot of the ceiling light. This series is very well written and very well acted.

  • Comment number 15.

    What an amazingly clever,funny, and sensitive piece of writing,and inspired casting of Molina and French. This is by far the best thing I have seen Ms French in for quite a while. I am both looking forward to, and dreading the final episode, I fear the tissues will be needed!! More of this kind of thing please, intelligent, thought provoking writing. Well done.

  • Comment number 16.

    Although Molina is great and gets it just right, I can't seem to get into this. His pace is fine, but French is erratic and looks too ready to go for the laughs - subdued of course, or add face miming to where the dialogue or silence should tell the tale. I agree, you don't need belly laughs or BBC3 humour to be a comedy. This just does not hit the spot as "Grandma's House" increasingly does or the wonderfully understated "Rev". I just can't get it out of my head that this has been done before. It rattles around in my head - yes pretty empty in there. I seem to remember a TV show back in the black and white days: was it American? Or was it something not billed as comedy on ITV? Someone out there will be able to put me out of my misery, I'm sure.


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