Back to Life

Rating 8.1
Streamer BBC iPlayer
Seasons 1
Episodes 12 x 25 mins

The right show, at the wrong time. Back to Life is back on our screens for season two, and we are hoping that this time round it gets a little more recognition.

Season one of Back to Life, the show written by and staring Daisy Haggard followed Miri Matteson, thirty-odd and recently released from 18 years in prison for committing an ambiguous, but clearly serious crime. She’s come back to her small coastal town to discover nobody really wants her there – she receives parcels of poo and wakes up to cruel graffiti on her garden wall – and to top it off her parents haven’t got a clue what to do with her.

Season one came to a close with the revelation that she had done the time for quite a crime, and without giving too much away, it starts with M, ends with R and rhymes with burger. Just watch season one, okay?

The critics loved the show, with The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan praising the “perfect pacing, polished writing,” and “intricately and carefully laid plots and payoffs”, however it suffered in the shadows of its more popular counterpart, Fleabag.

+ Read our review of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s masterpiece here.

The Telegraph’s Benji Wilson attributes the show’s lack of acknowledgement to the fact “it began the week after the conclusion of Fleabag,” therefore “was either condemned to being the new Fleabag or just not noticed in the hubbub”. Following this, the recommission of the series was delayed due to the pandemic, cruelly dissipating any hype which the show may have been able to amalgamate. 

However, unfortunate circumstances aside, the series is back, and according to the critics, it’s back with a bang. Mangan, still a big fan, gushes that “the show has lost none of its delicacy or nuance, nor have its makers disturbed its heart and soul – in fact they have only added to it” – high praise indeed. Meanwhile,Wilson doesn’t mince his words when he describes the second season as “an out-and-out triumph”.

Is season two worth the wait? The critics certainly think so, and we can’t help but agree. 

Season two first shown August 2021

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