Camping 1

All kinds of awkward. The definition of last night’s premiere of Camping on Sky Atlantic. Brought to us by the creator of Nighty Night Julia Davis, her latest offering is squirm-in-your-seat funny. The premise is a camping holiday in Devon for a group of middle aged couples. They are celebrating one of their birthdays. With glamping ever more popular this looks as if it could be a lovely few days in the countryside. We know it won’t be.

The first two episodes were screened back to back and there are a lot of recognisable faces. Steve Pemberton stars as the browbeaten husband who the trip is in honour of and Vicki Pepperdine as his dictator-style wife. Julia Davis also features as the sex-mad new girlfriend of the couple’s old friend. Jonathan Cake plays a reformed alcoholic who is fussed over by his insipid partner played by Elizabeth Berrington. By the first night tensions are already high as things start to go awry. Bickering, flapping and lots of snogging characterise the start, and that’s just the adults. The younger one’s fare no better, There’s Archie, a boy forced to wear a plastic bubble on his head by his mother to protect him and Jonathan’s teenage son, whose entrance is marked by disturbing noises from the bathroom.

While the holiday kicks off there are occasional glimpses of the creepy landowner doing strange things such as hanging out gigantic stained underwear while the group eat breakfast.

Elements of these characters are so realistic that it can make uncomfortably viewing. Vicki’s character as Archie’s over protective, routinely homophobic mother is one. It is amusing though, there are laugh out loud moments and I would watch this again. It left me turning my head away at points which classifies it as a certain type of humour. Agonising.

Camping continues as double-bills on Sky Atlantic, on Tuesday nights at 22.00.