“You are very good at blowjobs.” The opening line of BBC3’s new “anti-romantic comedy”, Him & Her, sets a lowbrow tone. Lovers Steve (Being Human’s Russell Tovey) and Becky (newcomer Sarah Solemani) are entwined in bed one morning, and sex is dominating the discussion. These two can’t keep their hands off each other, and they also can’t stop talking about their favourite pastime. (We’d recommend not watching this show with parents in the room).
The setting of this new six-parter is resolutely domestic, with the action not straying from Steve’s one-bedroom flat. He and Becky are unemployed and madly in love, and are clearly having a ball. The grimy flat will make clean-freak viewers cringe, but Tovey and Solemani are so engaging that it doesn’t matter. As Steve, Tovey’s Essex-boy swagger is miles apart from his role as Being Human’s George.
The first episode The Toast (aka The Interruptions) revolves around the couple’s mission to have sex immediately, which is constantly thwarted by obstacles. These are both self-imposed (Becky wants to eat toast in bed first) and external (unwanted guests dropping by). It’s testament to the skill of the show that none of this feels sitcom-contrived. Rather, it just flows naturally.
Comparisons with BBC2’s Roger and Val Have Just Got In are inevitable. But while that also featured a couple at home in “real time”, Him and Her is likely to do much better. It doesn’t feel stagey; you get the sense that people like this really exist, and crucially, the two main characters are very likeable.
They have a very physical, fairly juvenile relationship, and are constantly making fun of each other – but with affection. Bodily functions are fair game for discussion, and one shot of Becky sat on the toilet doing a crossword adds to the “realness” of the show. The main sore point in this opener comes, naturally enough, when Steve mentions his ex-girlfriend.
Steve’s Titanic-obsessed, socially awkward neighbour is funny, but is really just a comedy staple. Becky’s sister with a messed-up relationship shows more promise. She’s hilarious and adds some drama to the mix. (If ex-Spice Girl Mel C happens to watch this though, she may disagree).
Him and Her flows along nicely, makes you laugh out loud, makes you squirm, and gives you a warm romantic glow. What more do you want from half an hour of telly? We think BBC3 have a new hit on their hands. It starts tonight (Mon, Sept 6) at 10.30pm.