Monday 17 December 2018

The Young Offenders TV series episode 1 review: 'It takes the best of the movie and builds on it'

Young Offenders
Young Offenders
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Irish writer/director Peter Foott's utterly charming comedy flick The Young Offenders makes a smooth and seamless transition from the big screen to small.

When the credits rolled on the antics of Cork schoolboys Jock and Conor back in 2016, there was a sense the lads had a lot more to offer so a sequel of some variety was inevitable.

Not only did the film earn more than a million at the Irish box office, but it delighted audiences abroad, and the BBC stepped in to commission a six part series.

The first episode, which aired last week on BBC Three, and last night on RTE One, proved there is indeed plenty of mileage in the lads yet.

The big squeeze: Alex Murphy and Chris Walley as the ultimate chancers, Conor and Jock, in Irish hit movie 'The Young Offenders'
The big squeeze: Alex Murphy and Chris Walley as the ultimate chancers, Conor and Jock, in Irish hit movie 'The Young Offenders'

Anyone who may have had reservations about how the film would translate to TV can breathe a sigh of relief as the characters, tone, and inimitable Cork charm remain intact.

Chris Walley and Alex Murphy reprise their roles as lovable rogues Jock and Conor who are supposed to be studying for their Junior Cert but prefer to spend their time carrying out petty crime.

Other familiar faces include Dominic MacHale as Sargeant Healy, forever on their backs, and Shane Casey as mentally disturbed, violent vagrant Billy Murphy.

The wonderful Hilary Rose also returns as sensitive soul Conor's mother Mairead, who is soon enlisted to help her son when Jock gets him in trouble yet again.

PJ Gallagher also returns although those who have seen the film may have raised an eyebrow as he plays a completely different character.

This time around he's bumbling Barry, the highly strung school principal and father of Jock and Conor's would-be love interests.

Gallagher is hilarious, but he's equally convincing in quieter moments, a must for this cast as the drama transitions with ease between laugh-out-loud slapstick and genuinely moving exchanges between characters.

The relationship between Conor and his mum is particularly compelling and his dad's death and mother's struggles are ripe to be explored.

While the first episode echoes elements of the movie, it's simply setting the scene and by the second episode it will veer off into new territory.

The Young Offenders has already been commissioned by the BBC for a second series and if the first episode is anything to go by that's no surprise.

BBC commissions second series of Cork based comedy The Young Offenders 

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