Martin Freeman's new Sky comedy Breeders is enough to put you off having children for life

If last week’s Maternity Ward made you think that having a child might be a marvellous adventure, then Breeders (Sky One, Thursdays, 10pm) will knock that romantic idea right out of you.

Friday, 13th March 2020, 9:23 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th March 2020, 11:26 am

There’s no hugs, or doting looks or moppets saying the funniest things. Instead there is rage and swearing. A lot of swearing.

This black comedy is from alumni of The Thick of It, so you might expect some truly baroque cursing, and boy do Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard, as harassed parents Paul and Allie, put their spittle-flecked souls into it.

These potty-mouthed potty-trainers love their kids – I think, it’s difficult to tell at times – but the frustration of raising children trumps that love at every turn.

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Daisy Haggard and Martin Freeman star as harassed parents in Breeders

Meanwhile, they have to negotiate over sitting up with sleepless kids at night. “We’ll split it,” says Allie, “90 minutes on, 90 minutes off, like World War One sentries or prostitutes.”

Writers Simon Blackwell and Chris Addison have a good ear for the way couples really speak to each other –you can say anything about your own children, but if anyone else criticises them, you go for them, claws out.

The problem with these first two episodes is that there was quite a lot of black, and not too much comedy.

As Paul and Allie try to bring up their kids, their parents are reaching the age where they also need looking after – they don’t fall over, they have a fall, as Allie neatly points out – while Paul insists he’s “not depressed, just a realist,”and his dad (Alun Armstrong) has been on lithium for ‘an episode’.

So here they are, trapped between children and parents and not doing a particularly good job of looking after either – you just hope they improve, and the same could said for the show.

Noughts and Crosses (BBC1, Thursdays, 9pm) is an interesting take on Romeo and Juliet, with a dystopian reverse-history background, but the central pair are a bit insipid, and need a little oomph.

The almost sentient Gregg Wallace lurched back on our screens in Masterchef (BBC1, times vary). The standard of the cooks has risen immensely, but you catch yourself wanting to see someone with no idea serve up egg, chips and beans.