Entertainment & Arts

Fleabag's second series impresses critics

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Media captionFleabag's Sian Clifford on return of award-winning series

Fleabag, and its writer and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, burst onto screens in 2016 as a modern day answer to Peep Show.

The BBC Three show enjoyed instant success, with fans loving Waller-Bridge's take on millennial London life.

She even won a TV Bafta for best female - beating co-star Olivia Colman to win in 2017.

Now the show has returned for a second series, earning praise from critics.

Lucy Mangan of The Guardian gave the first episode five stars.

"It is, in short, an immaculately scripted (by Waller-Bridge) and performed (by everyone) half-hour - certainly up there with the best of the first series, and probably up with the best of TV comedy-drama entire.

"Waller-Bridge's dialogue is whetted to such a fine edge that you hardly notice when it strikes - you're too busy laughing at the joke, the audacity - until the blood starts to well up in the wound a second later."

Image caption Oscar winner Olivia Colman returns for Fleabag series two

It also received a five-star review from Tanya Gold at The Telegraph, who said: "Fleabag is called a comedy and, like the very best comedy - for instance, Withnail and I, another tale of a broken soul - I find it almost unbearable to watch.

"It's funny because the idea of people being so unhappy, and so clear about it (the protagonist constantly breaks the fourth wall, confiding in us, for she cannot confide in those around her) is ridiculous when they live where they do, in a bourgeois English family.

"It would work just as well, or even better, as drama. I love Fleabag, but I would love it just as much without the jokes - though the jokes ease the pain down."

Image caption A hot priest (played by Andrew Scott) is a new addition for the second series

The first episode got a four star review from Ed Cumming of The Independent, who calls the show an "old-fashioned programme at heart".

"While there are plenty of well-turned one-liners, the deeper attraction of Fleabag is schadenfreude. The moments of connection, as between Claire and Fleabag in a taxi at the end of the episode, are the bleaker for their rarity.

"All their material abundance can't save these people from their misery. Fleabag wants to have money without working for it and meaningful relationships without thinking of anyone aside from herself. Fleabag is as old as Daisy Buchanan or Lydia Bennett or Scarlett O'Hara.

"The best compliment to Waller-Bridge and her cast is that they find fresh clothes in which to dress these ancient monsters."

Christopher Stevens of the Daily Mail also gave the show four stars, praising its "flamboyant, insouciant sense of style".

He writes: "In this world, everyone is reduced to sexual objects - and when we lose sexual potency our lives cease to matter. 'Either everyone feels like this and isn't talking about it,' she lamented at the end of the last series, 'or I'm completely alone'.

"Thankfully, Fleabag has now achieved enough self-awareness for her emotions to reach beyond her sex drive. That's good, because dialogue this sharp, with a roster of actors this strong, shouldn't be turning viewers off."


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