Getting On Review: DOA?
GETTING ON: Wednesday 8th July, BBC4, 10pm Alert Me
It’s a frightening notion, getting old.
Your husband or wife has passed away, you can’t do the stairs any more, and the children you raised have had enough of you. Where are you likely to end up?
Ward B4, the setting of Jo Brand’s dark (but not quite black) comedy Getting On, which offers a glance into the kidney dish of the nursing profession.
We follow the daily events, trials and tribulations of three nurses and a doctor in a hospital ward where people go to die.
Brand, retaining her trademark monotone, stars as Nurse Kim Wilde with her co-writers Vicki Pepperdine and Joanna Scanlan, who respectively play a doctor in high heels and apologetically authoritative Sister. Who are all devoid of bedside manner.
Otherwise mundane events explode into mini dramas on collision with the staff’s utter gormlessness. They’re all as clueless as each other, though with varying degrees of self-importance.
Male matron Hilary (Ricky Grover)’s conflict with Pepperdine’s doctor throws some of that magic ingredient, misunderstanding, into this decelerated farce.
The mimsily-titled Getting On might just inspire backlash from the nursing community, having presented these medical professionals in such an unflattering light. But we mustn’t forget Brand has experienced the frontline.
She was a psychiatric nurse before her career in comedy, so the show can be trusted to be fairly authentic. Again, how frightening is that?
It should be really depressing. We will all, one day, be anonymous cadavers lying stiffly in our MRSA-smattered ward with indifferent and inexperienced staff pulling our dentures out. But it’s not. It appeals to that side of you that laughs about Tommy Cooper’s very public demise. Admit it, you just sniggered. You’re sick.
Gloriously bleak and suitably blue-filtered, Getting On appears to be dead on arrival, but stick with it as its absurd developments make it more and more toe-curling.
And in the best possible way.