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Manchild

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Television series, comedy/drama, BBC2. Written by Nick Fisher. Produced by Sophie Clarke-Jervoise and Pete Thornton. Directed by David Evans. Series One: February 20-April 3, 2002.

Reviews and Articles (most recent first)
(see also
Press Packet)

  • The Express, "TV Express: on last night's TV," 27 March 2002, by Jennifer Selway.
    Last night [James] swapped his customary cigar (what Nige called a "sacred organ of masculinity") from a briar pipe and, being a big silly, had to practise with his new toy in front of a mirror. Well, it made me laugh. [more]

  • Daily Record, "Gary's in the club," 02 March 2002.
    [Havers]: "It's politically incorrect and I really relish that. In fact, I think that a lot of men will watch it and say, 'God, I've always wanted to say that. Go for it.'" [more]

  • Evening Standard, "Cute but sulky the fiftysomething male," 1 March 2002, by Zoe Williams.
    It's not as good as it's meant to be, this show about the fiftysomething footloosers - that much, everyone agrees with. But it's also curiously watchable, and not just because of the freakishly good shape of Nigel Havers. [more]

  • Daily Record, "Sex and a dose of pity - sad to see blokes have the same hang-ups as the girls," 28 February 2002, by Annie Brown.
    After a shaky first part, Manchild is now as fresh as the faces of the characters' nubile conquests. [more]

  • The Stage, "Quality actors all rise to shine in thrilling Old Bailey drama," 28 February 2002, by Chris Bartlett.
    In effect a Sex in the City for fiftysomething men, former agony uncle Nick Fisher's opener was the televisual equivalent of watching your parents dancing at a wedding. A fine cast - Havers joined by Don Warrington, Anthony Head and Ray Burdis - was wasted in comedy drama that flailed between these two genres while failing to function as either. [more]

  • Daily Record, "Men of a certain age take it to art," 26 February 2002.
    The midlife crises of the four fortysomething friends are making for thoroughly enjoyable viewing. [.....]

  • Liverpool Echo, "Shameles quartet," 26 February 2002.
    The critics have been divided, but one thing's for sure - the four lead actors in Manchild agree they had a fantastic time making their new comedy drama series. Last week's tongue in cheek opener introduced us to the shameless quartet of late fortysomethings behaving badly and tonight's episode sees the three who are born-again bachelors cruising soft-top style through their post-divorce lives. [.....]

  • Mail on Sunday, "Sex and the witty," 24 February 2002, by Jaci Stephen.
    Where Sex and the City's women are real characters, Nick Fisher's creations are a collection of cliches; and where Carrie's monologue moves the emotional heart of the drama on, Terry's tries to flesh out what is lacking in the action. The result is a deathly slow pace that makes you just yell for the foursome to do what real men do and talk about the match. [more]

  • Mail on Sunday, "The troubled water which could sweep Blair away," 24 February 2002, by George Galloway.
    Actor Anthony Head is the star of Manchild, the cruel but realistic tale of fortysomething men-about-town enjoying or enduring their second adolescence. [more]

  • Sunday Express, "Review television: arresting times ahead with this all-star Jury," 24 February 2002, by David Stephenson.
    It's a solid cast - Nigel Havers, Don Warrington and Anthony Head - but all are trying very hard to make an almost-comedy, almost-drama, almost work. In the end it doesn't. [more]

  • Sunday Times, "None more deadly than the male," 24 February 2002, by A.A. Gill.
    Sadly, I have to tell you that Manchild isn't that bad; the script and Havers's asides are pathetically accurate and ruinously sharp. [more]

  • Wales on Sunday, "Crisis? What crisis? Love life begins at 50, according to new TV series Manchild. We put the theory to the test...," 24 February 2002, by John Gilheaney.

  • Daily Post (Liverpool), "Please, tell us something we didn't know about men," 22 February 2002.
    The only redeeming feature of this dismal offering is Anthony Head.... Unlike the others, he can do irony as well as upper-middle. He twinkles in front of the camera and has more than a hint of the two-dimensional about him. [more]

  • Daily Mail, "Oldest sinners in town," 20 February 2002, by Peter Paterson.
    Who knows, with six more episodes to come, Manchild could turn out to be a hoot - but I doubt it. And however gloomy I might feel at another comedy failure by the BBC, it's as nothing to the fury a number of famous motorcycle manufacturers will be feeling this morning over Terry's libellous disparagement of their products. [more]

  • Evening Standard, "It's not nifty to be fifty," 20 February 2002, by Pete Clark.
    What could be more irresistible for a man who is staring down both barrels of a halfcentury of existence, a man such as myself, than a television programme devoted to four others in the same position? ... For five minutes, I was thrilled to be a passenger on this ride. ... Irritation began to set in as a result of Havers's voiceover. [more]

  • The Guardian, 20 February 2002, by Nancy Banks-Smith.
    Manchild (BBC2) is about trading in your old saloon for something a bit sportier. Four friends in their late 40s are on the look-out for a new model. Preferably, of course, a supermodel. It is a midlife-crisis comedy, smart and stylish with a hint of poignancy and one big belly laugh which I find difficult to describe before breakfast. Nigel Havers does the narration. Anthony Head has the penis extension.

  • The Independent, "Television review," 20 February 2002, by Robert Hanks.
    On this showing, Manchild is emminently smooth-running and watchable. But the smoothness has been, so far, at the expense of originality or close observation. In common with other recent dramas about groups of men (Men Only, Baby Father), it reduces men to a stereotyped set of urges and insecurities. And the men's relationships with each other aren't at all convincing. [more]

  • Liverpool Echo, "A bit too much sex in the city," 20 February 2002, by Dawn Collinson.
    Manchild (BBC2), a Sex and the City for fortysomething men was how this new comedy drama was hyped. But on this first outing, the comparisons to Carrie & Co were woefully few and far between. [more]

  • The Mirror, "Last night's view: these oldies pack a paunch," 20 February 2002, by Tony Purnell.
    We've had twentysomething comedies and thirtysomething comedies so I suppose it was only a matter of time before the oldies got a look in. ... It's Sex and the City for the older man. The pals are as randy and racy as the girls from Manhattan but sadly nowhere near as funny. [more]

  • The Times, "Television," 20 February 2002, by Joe Joseph.
    They are men who behave like men - decisive, bullish, and with the emotional maturity of sauerkraut. This is what distances Manchild from Sex and the City, its most obvious inspiration. Manchild is not funny enough for a sitcom, nor gripping enough to rank as drama. It isn't full of quirky insights. Manchild is an accretion of cliches. [more]

  • Daily Record (Glasgow), "Fun with a midlife crisis (Pick of the Box), 19 February 2002.

  • The Guardian, "Tuesday television: Pick of the day," 19 February 2002.
    Nigel Havers, Anthony Head, Don Warrington and Ray Burdis star in this new drama about four men catapulting towards their 50th birthdays who are determined to revel in a second adolescence. Which means the obligatory sports cars, minimalist bachelor pads and beanpole girlfriends. The sexual musings of the four are downright stomach-churning at times, but author Nick Fisher's script has enough spark to maintain interest.

  • South Wales Echo (Cardiff), "What to watch: Haver-ing a fun time," 19 February 2002.
    Nick Fisher's clever script means we actually find these men both amusingly ridiculous and sympathetic. [more]

  • The Times, "Choice," 19 February 2002, by David Chater.
    At last - a celebration of the male menopause. A Saga saga. You can tell exactly what this programme is going to be like just by glancing at the cast list, which includes Nigel Havers and that other old schmooze Anthony Head. Havers & Co. saunter through their undemanding roles being rich and smooth and handsome, making grandmothers all over the country go weak at the knees as our heroes pursue the fountain of youth. But the joke is that they never get it entirely right. Either they are impotent, or they buy the wrong sort of motorbike, or they're just not cool. Viewers are invited to admire and laugh at them at the same time - a case of having your junk food and eating it.

  • The Guardian, "Fling Quartet," 18 February 2002, by Mark Lawson.
    At least one woman previewing the series has already called it misogynistic, but Manchild is honest about the secret prejudices of a gender in the same way that Sex and the City is. Both series are like listening at the keyhole of the restroom you don't use. And, where the women's show is finally kindly towards its central characters, it's clear in Manchild that the chaps are being guyed. Havers's portrayal of the male menopause should severely reduce the sales of motor-bikes to the over-40s. [more]

  • Independent on Sunday, "Television: Choice: Tuesday," 17 February 2002, by Stuart Price.
    Manchild 10pm BBC2. "In your forties, you're unpicking the unholy mess that marriage and work have made of your life; in your fifties, you're on a full-on hedonistic quest," says Nigel Havers's Terry, in this new Sex and the City-style comedy about four guys approaching 50. Tonight the fit, solvent and free manchildren rediscover their innocence for 20 minutes, and then a reminder of male ageing afflicts Anthony Head's James. This looks like the start of an addictive drama - and not only for those living through their own "middle-youth."

  • Sunday Times, "The one to watch," 17 February 2002, by Sally Kinnes.
    (Article about Nigel Havers): In Manchild, Havers seems keen to send himself up before everybody else does. "They've been sending me up for years," he sighs. He (and probably rightly) anticipates some stick from the critics, but has given up worrying. "I don't know what to expect any more." [more]

  • The Mirror, "The Scurra," 7 January 2002.
    Nigel Havers and Anthony Head, the stars of a new BBC2 series called Manchild, got more than they bargained for when they agreed to do a joint interview with Eve magazine. [more]

  • Independent, "Staying In: Walking with dinosaurs; a new drama follows the misadventures of four middle-aged men," 5 January 2002, by Gerard Gilbert.
    Essentially, Terry, James, Patrick and, to a lesser extent, Gary are idealised versions of middle-aged men. They have gym-toned torsos, dress expensively and generally have plenty of money with which to enjoy their "middle youth." [more]

  • The Herald, "Putting the foot down about middle age," 31 December 2001, by David Belcher.
    A forthcoming TV comedy drama focuses on documenting the antidote to the woeful burdens of male middle age: the jolly years of male middle youth! Manchild stars Nigel Havers, Ray Burdis, Don Warrington, and Anthony Head as a quartet of schoolboy chums who have now entered the delusional zone of middle youth. [more]

  • Radio Times, "Location Location Location: Hot News From the RAC Club: The Heat is On," 17-23 November 2001, by David Roberts.
    It was 29° Celsius/84° Fahrenheit outside on Pall Mall, but down in the RAC Club's Edwardian basement, it was far, far hotter. Here, on a scorching late-summer day, the cast and crew of BBC2's forthcoming comedy drama Manchild were on a schedule that meant the day's filming had to be, wait for it, in a sauna. The production notes describe the make-up simply as "sweat." [more]

  • Independent, "BBC2 switches focus on to the mid-life crisis audience," 01 May 2001, by Louise Jury.
    "They think that they are the coolest guys on the planet but they're just making prats of themselves." She said they also reflected another real-life trend--the ageing adolescent. [more]

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  • Manchild: Series Description/Cast - Press Packet - Pictures - Related Press/Links



    Page created December 13, 2001; last updated April 16, 2002. Original material (c) Betsy Vera (bentley@umich.edu). This website is for information and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to infringe on copyrights held by others.

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