Mandy’s chasing her dreams once again!

Wednesday:Mandy(BBC Two, 10pm & 10.15pm)

Mandy
Mandy

She has been called the “mistress of the deadpan arts”, and Diane Morgan is often the best or funniest character in the shows that she appears, overshadowing their bigger-name stars.

In recent years, the Boltonian actress has received acclaim for her roles as Philomena Cunk, the sub-moronic interviewer on Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, Liz, stressed-out, downbeat mum Liz in Motherland, and advertising manager Kath in the Ricky Gervais’ Netflix comedy-drama After Life.

But back in 2019 Morgan was given the chance to write, direct and star in her own sitcom. Initially, Mandy debuted as a single 15-minute short as part of the BBC’s Comedy Shorts strand in July 2019, before launching as a six-part series a year later.

It chronicled the life of the eponymous anti-heroine, a woman with “big dreams” trying to stay afloat in the age of the gig economy.

Throughout the series, we saw Mandy attempt (and spectacularly fail) as an arachnid control operative at a banana factory and staff member at a fried-chicken shop, as well as taking part in a line-dancing competition, and starring in a commercial for a payday loans company.

Mandy was a hit with viewers, and the show was shortlisted for Best New TV Sitcom at the comedy.co.uk Awards.

Following the extended (by five minutes) festive special, We Wish You a Mandy Christmas, in which she contemplated the true meaning of yuletide, the second full series begins tonight.

It will once again see Mandy chase her dreams through even more weird and short-lived jobs.

During the run, she appears on a genuinely out-of-this-world reality show and accepts the most unappealing job in the sewage industry.

But she begins tonight by taking up a role as a stately home tour guide at Brampton Hall.

Then, in the second episode, Mandy finds herself on the programme Who Are You, Do You Think – a ‘fictional’ genealogy programme.

Morgan says: “At this time of debate about the future of the BBC, a second series of Mandy could not be more timely.

“If anything proves the worth of the corporation it’s a show about a woman who wants to breed Doberman Pinschers. It’s not something you’d get on Amazon Prime or BFI Player.”

Other well-loved characters from the series will also be returning, including Michelle Greenidge as Lola, Mandy’s close friend and confidante in the local nail salon, and Tom Basden as Mandy’s fed up benefits officer. Mark Silcox, Alistair Green and Michael Spicer are also back.

In addition, Jackie Clune, Nigel Ng, Chris Cantrill, William Andrews, David Mills, Yuriko Kotani and Stuart Goodwin will appear in tonight’s first instalment, with Richard Hope, Charlie Chuck and Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden in the second.

Sir Tom Courtenay, Anna Maxwell Martin, Nick Mohammed, Alexei Sayle, Peter McDonald, Jo Hartley, Roger Sloman, Kate Robbins, Nigel Planer, Konnie Huq, and Professor Brian Cox will all pop later in the run, all of which is available in the BBC iPlayer.

Unlike the over-optimistic title character, it is probably unwise to get your hopes up that this new series will bring Mandy any closer to her dream of breeding Doberman Pinschers and owning the furniture of her dreams.

Nevertheless, it is great to see Morgan front and centre, and Mandy is certainly a fun way to spend 15 minutes of your time, or half an hour if you’re feeling adventurous and watching the first two.

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