Birds of a Feather, TV review: 15 years on the show still resonates
Cultural references may seem cringe, but show still has warm familiarity
Like the rest of the new series of Birds of A Feather, back on TV after a 15-year hiatus, the final episode in the eight-show run served up no surprises.
Instead, we got the predictable, comforting combo of ageist jokes, fatist jokes, Essex jokes, a bit of suggestiveness, and some shoe-horned contemporary cultural references, mostly succeeding thanks to the strong chemistry between the show's three female stars.
The 2014 installments have seen Sharon (Pauline Quirke), Tracey (Linda Robson) and Dorien (Lesley Jospeh), now in their 50s and late 60s respectively, muddling-through in a post-recession, post-TOWIE Essex.
They were back in Chigwell, without their dodgy husbands, working in 'World of Quid' (Sharon and Dorien), penning erotic novels (Dorien) and bringing up their own mummies' boys and TOWIE-ites in the making (Travis, Tracey's on-screen son, played by Quirke's real life offspring).
The finale followed Dorien's plagiarism trial for her book Sixty Shades of Green (see what they did there?). After a bit of heavy flirting with the judge and some final-hour evidence in the form of a deceased former lover's autobiography corroborating her sexploits, she got let off.
In true Birds' fashion - saucy, suggestive but never explicitly rude - we mercifully never did find out exactly what went on in the “snapping turtles” incident in chapter six.
Post triumphant verdict, Dor got driven off to a classy hotel bash “up west”, leaving the sisters out on the pavement with only the 21st century lowest of the low for company - a pack of journalists.
Of course, that wasn't the end; this is cosy, old-fashioned, family-friendly comedy, that isn't complete without an 'appy ending. Sharon and Tracey were driven in from Chigwell in a Bentley, they dived for the canapés and the free bubbly, while Dorien's hangers-on quickly lost interest as the free booze dwindled.
There was an on-screen appearance from daytime TV queen Lorraine Kelly, who managed to get poor Dorien's name wrong - neatly and not-so-subtly serving to remind her who her real friends were.
The episode ended with Dorien eschewing the glamorous life for another night on the sofa in Chigwell with her old friends.
Confirmed for a second series, the trio's friendship is one that resonates with different generations. And even if you feel like you've heard it all before, be honest, that warm familiarity is a big part of the Birds' appeal.
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Review: Cilla, ITV TV
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