The premise is pretty self-explanatory: Girl and boy share a car to and from work. C’est tous. No sets. It’s sit-com minimalism. Genius. We can focus entirely on the characters, focus entirely on the relationship between the passengers. No distractions.
And therein lies the problem. In order for this to work the script must be something else, because that’s all there is, just a script. No bells or whistles, just two people in a car. There’s no hiding place, unfortunately.
It doesn’t get any braver than setting your sit-com in a car. I’m not sure who’s advising Kay these days, but really this was a telly disaster waiting to happen. Perhaps Kay has reached that stage of his career where he believes his own hype. What else could explain Car Share?
It started off badly and just went downhill thereafter. The opening sequence had Kay following his satnav system around a series of blind alleys. Satnavs issuing wrong directions is hardly the most original gag to have been written, but nobody seemed to have
told Kay. He milked the gag mercilessly until he literally ended up in a dead end.
Thereafter, in the company of fellow supermarket worker Kayleigh (Sian Gibson), Kay spent the next twenty five minutes being…Peter Kay. It was surely a sign of desperation when the comedian insisted on repeating that very funny word ‘piss’ throughout the broadcast. Comedy gold.
Has it really come to this? Is Peter Kay too big to fail? Is Kay the new RBS? It was one of those moments when you felt that his true friends should have taken him to one side, had a quiet word.
After a few minutes of this dialogue I found myself paying more attention to the Manchester streets where the programme is filmed. “Been there,” said I on a number of occasions, now totally indifferent to the to-ing and fro-ing between the passengers in the front seat.
“Got my petrol there once,” noted I with something like excitement on spying a supermarket petrol station through the back window.
Even the radio adverts ended up as damp squibs. Parodying naff radio ads could have been a very funny idea, but like the rest of this programme it just never came off somehow.
And it just went on and on. I checked my EPG: yes, this was billing itself as a ‘comedy.’ Kay mentioned ‘piss’ again. It wasn’t even 10 o’ clock and I felt myself drifting inexorably off to the land of nod.
Shakespeare it was who said reputation is oft gained without merit. Was Peter Kay ever funny, even a decade ago? There's just one problem with Car Share: the script: it just ain’t funny enough and no name can change that. Not even Peter Kay.