Thank you Sharon Horgan and British TV for helping me over my reading slump

Multi-talented Sharon Horgan.

My usually voracious reading habit has suffered a weeks-long dry spell this winter. I’ve started and not finished umpteen books and just couldn’t seem to get my teeth into anything. That is very unusual for me and is the reason why you haven’t been seeing any of my regular book reviews on BoomerBroadcast lately. If you’re a book lover like I am—my apologies!

So, instead of recommending a good book this week, I’m devoting this post to good television. If you’re a fan of British television like I am, then you may already be familiar with the name Sharon Horgan. If not, pay attention.

The first time I saw Sharon Horgan was in the British series Catastrophe (on Prime). Not only was I impressed with her portrayal of the lead character also called Sharon, but the writing was amazing—so brave, so contemporary, and so true to life. She played a single woman whose one-night-stand with a traveling Canadian businessman at an airport hotel is life-altering. When she discovers she is pregnant, they decide to get married and chaotic modern life in London ensues. Notably, the mother of her character’s husband was played by the fabulous Carrier Fisher prior to her early demise.

Four sisters in the series Bad Sisters plot to kill their brother-in-law, “The Prick”.

Another series worth catching is Bad Sisters (Apple TV). Last year I binge-watched the entire series until I ran out of episodes and had to wait for the new weekly installments. Horgan plays Eva, the eldest of five Irish sisters. They are attempting to save their long-suffering sister from the emotionally abusive control of her passive-aggressive husband John-Paul whom they have not-so-affectionately dubbed “The Prick”.  The sisters are conspiring to have John-Paul killed. Horgan was also the Developer, Writer, and Executive Producer of this fascinating series.

When I see anything with the name Sharon Horgan attached, I immediately know it’s worth watching. That’s how I became addicted to Motherland (YouTube), a series about a group of urban mothers and one house-husband trying to manage the ever-tricky work-life balancing act. Ordinarily, this would not be a premise that attracts my attention but the writing (Horgan is one of the writers) and the characters are so brilliant, I became hooked on the first episode. In one episode of the last season, the wonderful Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) plays Amanda’s mother. Coincidently, one of the characters in Motherland, Liz, played by Diane Morgan is also featured in Ricky Gervais’s wonderful series After Life (Netflix), where she plays Kath, the office manager. Love her in both of these series.

The ensemble cast is brilliant. (L to R) Philippa Dunne (Anne), Diane Morgan (Liz), Anna Maxwell Martin (Julia), Paul Ready (Kevin), and Lucy Punch (Amanda).

Britain always turns out such amazing comedy and dramedy—if you like that kind of thing and get the understated, dry humour. I watch with closed captioning so I don’t miss a word. The characters are sharply drawn and fearlessly portrayed by brilliant actresses and actors. Unlike in American films and television shows, they are not a homogenous mix of eternally young, blonde, and beautiful things with huge hair and perfect teeth. Actually, Horgan does have rather huge hair, but it’s natural, so bless her. It’s a rather refreshing departure.

When I looked up Sharon Horgan on Wikipedia (click here) I was amazed at her vast resume of writing, producing, and acting credits with numerous awards and recognition from within the industry. I’ll be busy trying to find some of these shows on my streaming services and look forward to spending many more hours savoring her assorted talents. She’s right up there with Phoebe Waller-Smith and Jennifer Saunders.

If you like reading BoomerBroadcast, then I’m confident you’ll enjoy watching, Catastrophe, Bad Sisters, and Motherland as well as Horgan’s other productions. The language and plots are not for sensitive types who are uncomfortable with explicit language or salty dialogue, some of which is laugh-out-loud funny. If you’re OK with adult-only content, then you’re in for a good time. Thank you, Sharon Horgan for all those lovely evenings watching your work.

And, last week, wouldn’t you know it, all of a sudden six books that I’ve been on the wait-list for at the library all became available within a few days. I immediately put the kettle on, turned the television off, and checked out what I’ve been missing. In fact, I became so engrossed in Still Life, a novel by Sarah Winman that I did not even turn the television on last night and stayed up reading way past my bedtime. Stay tuned; there will be a review coming up soon.

Do you have any good television programs or books you can recommend and share with our BoomerBroadcast readers?

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