Count Arthur Strong, voted the fourth “best British sitcom of the 21st century” in a poll by Radio Times, is back and funny as ever.
For folks who aren’t familiar with this BAFTA-nominated series, Count Arthur Strong is adapted from the award-winning Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show! and stars Steve Delaney as the eponymous former vaudevillian — a man given to uttering malapropisms, exaggerating the level of his talents and fame, and causing all sorts of mischief and mayhem wherever he goes.
One place where either something goes terribly (and hilariously) wrong or Arthur concocts a not-so-brilliant scheme is Bulent’s Café, the local haunt for Arthur and his friends, who in their own ways aren’t so swift either. They include ex-criminal John the Watch (Andy Linden, Stella, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), egg enthusiast Eggy (David Plimmer, The Wicker Tree, The Choir), and (starting in Series 3) Birdie (Bronagh Gallagher, Pramface, You, Me and the Apocalypse) — all regulars at the café run by Bulent (Chris Ryman, The Secret Agent) and his sister Sinem (Zahra Ahmadi, Berlin Station).
Then there’s Michael Baker (Rory Kinnear, Penny Dreadful, Southcliffe), an anal-retentive writer who entered Arthur’s vortex when he began research for a book about his late father, Arthur’s comedy partner. Since befriending Arthur, Michael’s well-ordered life has turned chaotic for obvious reasons.
In the new season’s opener, “House of Horrors,” a customer flees the café and Bulent bans Arthur from doing any more tarot card readings there. No matter, because Arthur’s, um, gifts as a spiritualist are put to the test at the new home of Michael’s new agent, whose partner hires Arthur to perform an exorcism to rid the house of evil spirits. Arthur, John, Eggy, and Birdie do find a spirit and mayhem ensues.
Of Series 3’s seven episodes, I’ve watched the first three so far. Of them, Episode 2 is by far the funniest. It hasn’t aired in the UK yet, so I’ll share just this for now: Arthur + local gangsters + “that Brian Cox feeling” = so hilarious that my abs ached, cheeks hurt, and eyes watered from laughing so hard.
Co-written by Delaney and Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd), Count Arthur Strong: Series 3, Episode 1 premieres in the US today, 22 May 2017, exclusively on Acorn TV and the Acorn TV channel on Amazon. New episodes of the hit comedy will debut on successive Mondays.