Little baby ‘This Way Up’ gets to grow up

Wednesday:This Way Up; (Channel 4, 10pm)

When she was promoting the first series of her sitcom This Way Up, comedian and actress Aisling Bea said: “The show is technically a comedy about loneliness, but that’s kind of a hard-sell.”

She did have a point, but it seems that despite that plenty of viewers were sold on the tale of Aine, a young single Irish woman who is based in London – and recovering from a nervous breakdown.

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The series picked up great reviews, a Bafta Craft Award for Breakthrough Talent for Bea, and now it’s back for a second series.

Áine (Aisling Bea)Áine (Aisling Bea)
Áine (Aisling Bea)

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised it was a hit.

Bea has built up a following as a stand-up comedian, appearing on shows including QI, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Taskmaster, as well as acting in everything from Dead Boss to last year’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? drama Quiz.

If she wasn’t enough of an incentive to watch, there was also the fact that Aine’s over-protective sister was played by Sharon Horgan who also served as an executive producer alongside Bea.

Horgan has come to be known as something of a mark of comedy quality.

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She starred in and co-created Catastrophe and Pulling, and is also one of the brains behind Motherland, which has become one of 2021’s most talked about comedies.

So, expectations are high for the second series of This Way Up – and Bea is certainly excited to be back.

She says: “I over the moon that our little baby This Way Up gets to grow up and start school.

Thanks to its grandparents Channel 4 and Hulu for paying its school fees and to my wonderful team, crew and cast for helping bring it to life the first-time round.

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“I was so overwhelmed by the love and support for the show.”

And while she may have been nervous about the first run finding an audience, she thinks the second may take on a new relevance with viewers.

She explains: “The themes of loneliness and vulnerability seemed to connect in a far more widespread way than I had anticipated, and it feels particularly relevant writing series two during the last few months.

“I was so touched by the people from different countries, ages, genders and backgrounds who have gotten in touch to share their stories since the show has aired…

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“I hope you love seeing where Aine and Shona have moved on to.”

As the series begins, Aine is starting to leave her time in rehab behind and be a little less cautious – although that may not be an altogether positive development.

And where will it leave her relationship with Richard (Tobias Menzies) as they head out on their first date in this opening episode?

Meanwhile, when we last saw Shona, she’d just got engaged after Vish’s (Aasif Mandvi) proposal, despite sharing a stolen kiss with business partner, Charlotte (Indira Varma).

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So, perhaps it’s not surprising that their venture is getting off to an awkward start.

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