TV Highlights

Man Down Christmas Special

Channel 4 - 10pm

Who's in it?

Greg Davies is back as luckless man-child Dan, and this time he's dealing with his Aunt Nesta. Given that she's played by Stephanie Cole, it's fair to assume she's not going to be cuddly, sweet sort of aunt.

In a nutshell

Man Down is back – which is a bit of a surprise (the pleasant kind, mind). After all, the first series about the trials and tribulations of reluctant teacher and modern malcontent Dan relied heavily on the cameo power of Rik Mayall as his deliciously malevolent dad. Rik's sudden passing put a big question mark over the show, especially as his character was all set to plan an even bigger role this time round.

Well, it looks like the writers have thought of away around that. And anyway, it's a pleasure to see Greg Davies employing his trademark scowl (it really is a work of art when he scowls) in this Christmas episode, in which Dan his mates Jo and Brian pay a visit to Dan's aunt's farm. Here there will be a confrontation with a turkey – an animal which would give Scrooge a run for his money in the meanness stakes – and a general farm-based ineptitude not seen since Withnail and I. Should be a corker.

What's the verdict?

While Rik Mayall's presence will be bitterly missed, it'll be intriguing to see if Man Down can carve out a place in comedy history without the great man. If anyone can make it happen, Greg can.

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07-07-2011