Diane Morgans unhappy, Doberman pinscher-loving anti-heroine Mandy got her second series back in predictable fashion. The first episode of the initial double count – which is followed by another four 15-minute installments – found her back at the job center after an unfortunate stay at a frozen fish factory.
Inevitably, the concert had ended in disaster, so she was sent to work instead in the stately home of Brampton Hall, where she led guided tours in character as a 19th-century brewing girl. (“I have to light the fire at 5:30 every morning to make sure it’s hot for my master”).
Morgan has long proven herself to be the queen of deadly absurdity with her tours as TV nincompoop Philomena Cunk and as fatherland ‘s heroically undisturbed Liz – and Mandy is just as moaningly awkward as ever – but episode two was the highlight of the night when Mandy accidentally starred in a Who do you think You Are? rip-off, after being confused with the long-gone cousin of Dragons’ Cave investor Deborah Meaden (who did a wonderful job of playing herself).
This comedy is at its sharpest, not when it revel in the strange – which it does a lot (first episode ended in a satanic ritual) – but in its more understated scenes, when Mandy is caught doing something quietly outrageous.
Few moments were e.g. more fun than when her arm slowly moved into the picture while she sheepishly rummaged around for magazines from which she could retrieve photographs of “family members”.
The format will inevitably get tired at some point, but when it does, I hope it does not become the last thing we look for. Mandy. With Morgan’s hilarious silly performances and razor-sharp writing, I’m curious to see how Mandy would evolve if she had more than 15 minutes to wreak havoc.
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