The Duchess

Rating 6.1
Streamer Netflix
Seasons 1
Episodes 6 x 20 mins

Canadian (turned adopted-Brit) comedian Katherine Ryan has followed the footsteps of many comedians before her, and tried her hand at a sitcom.

In her new show, The Duchess, Ryan plays a potty-mouthed single mother, with a waste of space ex-partner/father of her child, and a wet flannel of a lover. She struts from her pottery business – called Kiln’em Softly – to the playground and back loudly letting everyone know she is amoral and doesn’t give one if you don’t like her for it. It’s got its funny moments, but mostly it’s just shocking for the sake of being shocking. However, it is quite refreshing to see a comedy about a middle-class mum that isn’t focused on her unhealthy taste for Chardonnay and the crow’s feet collecting round her eyes.

In The Telegraph, Michael Hogan summed it up by calling it a “loud, mildly amusing mess,” something he seems frustrated by, as he says, “you feel there’s a far better sitcom inside it, fighting to get out.” The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan is less critical, saying “There’s a lot to like in The Duchess,” but comments “Katherine herself too often steps across the line from bitch to simple sociopath,” something she says “takes a wearying toll on the viewer after a while.” Daniel D’Addario of Variety had slightly more ruthless take, calling it “painful to watch stupid behavior, and stupid writing, treated by its creator as subversively intelligent.” Cor, that one almost makes you wince.

First shown September 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.

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