Outgrowing Outnumbered: Can it carry off adolescent angst now its child stars are so big?
The Brockman family are back with another chaotic Christmas special. But now that ‘children’ Jake, Ben and Karen have all reached double figures, will the show be as funny?
Karen, the youngest of the troublesome trio, now ten, has lost the blonde ringlets of childhood innocence and stands only a head shorter than her mother Sue (Claire Skinner). Her hilariously candid comments stole the semi-scripted show in the first series, but she now looks into the camera with a knowing eye and all the hallmarks of self-awareness.
Middle child Ben, aged 12, is at that awkward brink between childhood and teenager. He will no doubt be just as mischievous as he is left in charge of the Christmas party games, but with the gangling presence of a boy trapped in an adolescent body.
Seventeen-year-old Jake, who is legally old enough to have sex, worries his parents this Christmas by falling in with the wrong crowd. Older adolescent behaviour can be funny, but Outnumbered is no Inbetweeners. We will wait to see how the show carries off family-friendly 17-year-old antics.
The Christmas special stars a host of adult neighbours invited to the Brockman’s party, including Sanjeev Bhasker and Mark Heap. You can’t help but think the producers have got in two well-known comedians to make up for a few laughs lost elsewhere.
The show’s genius originally lay in the naïve improvised lines of the three children, aged five, seven and eleven when Outnumbered first started. Five years on, who’ll be having the last laugh?
Outnumbered - The Christmas Special, Monday 24 December, 9.35pm BBC One
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 4 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
Cannes Film Festival rejects women from red-carpet screening of pro-LGBT romance 'Carol' for not wearing high heels
'We didn't really think we'd get away with it': The astonishing story of how two young Irish men completed an audacious £7m art heist
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Eurovision Song Contest 2015 final: As Google celebrates the competition with a Doodle, here are 7 things you might not know
Beyonce angers fans by pouring expensive champagne into hot tub in Nicki Minaj 'Feeling Myself' video
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland