Last Night's TV: Trollied/Sky1
Town with Nicholas Crane/BBC2
Little Box of Horrors/E4


I'm concerned about Jane Horrocks. She's being typecast, or so it seems to me. First that Tesco advert – you know the one, from the mid Nineties, the one she said paid for her home ("Tesco Towers") and stopped her having to do dross TV. That's as opposed to her new series for Sky1, Trollied, which, presumably, she doesn't think is dross TV. It's about a supermarket called Valco ("Valco serves you right!") and good old Jane plays interim deputy manager Julie. See? Typecasting. Horrocks obviously screams aisle four from a mile off, though I doubt she'd thank you for saying it. After all, it was her who in a recent promotional interview claimed to find shopping in Tesco "a little scary" because "you can have rather a lot of chavs" in there.

But is she right? Not about the chavs, about Trollied. Is it dross? I'm undecided. It's amazing that there aren't more sitcoms set in supermarkets. They're such a part of daily life, and yet also faintly ridiculous, all those self-checkouts and club cards and Bogofs. It's not surprising to find out that Trollied is produced by Ash Atalla, who made his name with The Office. They're the same that way: places where we spend too much time, places we don't even notice any more.

But this isn't The Office. It's nowhere near it. There's not a trace of a future classic. Which doesn't matter, per se, if the thing is amusing enough for the moment. And it is, I suppose. There are some good jokes, some witty ideas. Nothing you wouldn't come up with yourself, if you put your mind to it, but there they were: customers returning half-drunk milk, club card salesmen adding their own questions to the application form, employees getting stage fright before going on the loudspeaker. There was a nice little routine with Margaret, who's been employed as part of a back-to-work-for-pensioners scheme. When her arm passes through the scanner, it registers a pack of plum tomatoes, much to the passive-aggressive frustration of general manager Gavin. She gets allocated to the deli, which would be fine if only she knew what tofu was.

The stars of the show aren't, in fact, Julie and Gavin (Jason Watkins); she's too neurotic, too high-pitched to hold the attention for long. Her flighty, stressed-out personality has been deployed as a running punch line, but it doesn't work. Far more engaging is the blokey banter between Andy and Kieran, the two boys behind the butcher's counter. Played by Mark Addy and Nick Blood, they deliver even the most puerile lines with a certain charm ("I'm interim-ing," said Julie. "Into rimming?" riffed Kieran.) Chanel Cresswell's good, too, as Katie. I predict a romance with Kieran before the series is out.

In all, it wasn't bad. There was no reason to switch over. No reason to tune out. It was lightly amusing, which is enough for what it was. But it's not going to be something to go out of your way for. It's not appointment TV. We won't be buying the DVD. So perhaps Jane was right: not dross. She might want to call her agent, though, and try something set in a café.

After falling so in love with the Ludlow of Nicholas Crane's imagining, I was dismayed to learn the truth. Tesco isn't, as was suggested, the only supermarket in town. There's an Aldi too. And there are plenty of chains! Boots, Specsavers, and M&Co. So, so much for that.

As result, I spent most of last night's Town wondering what I could trust. Was Scarborough really the Monte Carlo of the North? How much influence do the residents really have over local budgets? In truth, Crane seemed less enamoured with this town than with Ludlow and there were fewer claims made on its behalf. They do have magic water, though. Drink it and you'll be running for the bog before you can say sulphur content. Unless, of course, that's nonsense too.

"If You've Been Framed is the Ribena of clip shows, then this is the crystal meth cut with rat poison." So began Little Box of Horrors, E4's latest late-night offering, presented (or at least voiceovered) by James Buckley, he of The Inbetweeners. I wrote that line down because it sounded so ridiculous; in fact, it's rather a good assessment of things. What followed was a bleary mix of the profane and the provocative: Women's Institute members visiting a sex shop, adverts for Gaytime ice lollies, repeated appearances by a sweaty telesales presenter flogging medieval weapons. It's like an upside down Harry Hill: the presenter's not terribly funny, but the clips, in the most juvenile of ways, are.;

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk