‘Pat & Cabbage’ (ITV) Review

From writers Amy Shindler (My Family) and Beth Chalmers (Threesome) comes ITV’s latest comedy: Pat & Cabbage, a series about two women who are hell-bent on growing old disgracefully.

With Pat’s husband having recently died and (the bizarrely named) Cabbage becoming divorced, both women are newly single and determined to exploit this status as they immerse themselves in many a caper, all the while trying to keep their home lives running smoothly.


Since the BAFTA-winning Last Tango in Halifax, there has been a yearning for programmes about sixty- and seventy-somethings trying to recapture the freedom and folly of their youth. Sally Wainwright did it brilliantly with Last Tango (a second series of which is on its way) but, if this first episode is anything to go by, Shindler and Chalmers have just missed the mark.

It was quite sweet and cheerful (even Nicola’s tales of a lonely childhood couldn’t lessen the mood)  but was unfortunately lacking in laughs. I faintly smiled at the final scene in Michael’s driveway but other than that was unimpressed with Pat & Cabbage, and how it failed to live up to its hype.

What I was even more unimpressed by, however, was the brief insulting of the viewer’s intelligence by the writers. Now I have to say that this is only a minor thing, and if you watched Pat & Cabbage, you’ll probably hardly even remember it happening, but it is a bit of a bugbear of mine, and when else will I get the opportunity to voice it? (Unless I am one day a guest on Room 101, of course.) So bear with me. This insult of viewers’ intelligence concerns technology, and how many writers – not just Shindler and Chalmers – think that they can have mobile phones and computers do whatever the hell they like, the thought clearly being that technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that surely they cannot be far wrong. Well they more often than not are wrong. Within the first ten minutes of this episode we saw Cabbage take Pat’s phone from her, enter her friend Michael’s name into Google and, hey presto, instantly be given his details, including his profession. And then she clicks the wrong thing on the results page and accidentally ends up calling Michael himself. Whoops! Do writers really think that viewers are going to buy a plot like that? I mean I’ve heard of narrative license but that’s something else!

I will now step off of my soapbox. Thank you.

Another reason why I found Pat & Cabbage disappointing was the almost complete lack of characterisation. With the possible exception of Helen and Nicole (one of whom was a fun-seeker, the other a loner), none of the characters here had anything particularly unique about them. If I wasn’t able to differentiate between Barbara Flynn and Cherie Lunghi, I think I would have often forgotten which one was Pat and which one was Cabbage! There was just nothing engaging about the characters. It would have been bad enough not to have the supporting cast developed, but for the two leads not to be either was very disheartening. Or are we to believe that their mischievousness is the only aspect to them?

Perhaps Pat & Cabbage simply suffered from a touch of ‘First Episode Syndrome’ – that fiendish problem with which a lot of new shows battle as they try to bed in characters and situations, without giving much thought to the actual comedy. But then the majority of Twitter users seemed to like it, so Shindler and Chalmers have clearly done something right. I’m just afraid there’ll have to be an improvement in the second episode before I find out what that ‘something’ is.

Images courtesy of Rachel Joseph, ©ITV 

Pat & Cabbage is on Thursdays at 8:30pm on ITV

What did you think of Pat & Cabbage? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer.

You can also see what’s coming up on TV in the coming week on this blog, published every Saturday at midnight.


13 thoughts on “‘Pat & Cabbage’ (ITV) Review

  1. Stephen says:

    I quite enjoyed this first episode. And as any modern Smartphone owner will tell you, you can click a phone number on a webpage and your phone will instantly call it.

  2. John Reed says:

    You are absolutely entitled to your soapbox expedition, we all take peculiar and unreasonable umbrage from time to time. On this one you’re wrong. I have witnessed no fewer than three cases of gerontological cack-handed iPhone fiasco similar to the plot line this week!

    Just FYI

  3. Pete Roberts says:

    Absolute rubbish !

  4. Ron Day says:

    Your review was spot on, I too am going to give it a second chance, just to see cheers Ron

  5. john says:

    sorry thought it was poor TV very woman orientated as is a lot of TV nowadays

  6. JoanW says:

    This is the biggest load of rubbish I have seen in a long time, It should be consigned to the compost heap as soon as possible.

  7. lynn says:

    it should be taken off straight away. To say I am angry at last nights viewing is an understatement. to make fun of someone with a disability is disgusting. my daughter has crohns disease and she is lots of fun. She came in my room upset to ask if I had heard the comments that were made.as for the actress, well she obviously doesn’t care about peoples feelings. And the writer’s well what do you say about them?. words fail me.I am sure everyone else who suffers from this cruel disease will be fuming to have such a label attached to them in front of thousands of viewers. so what they saying is EVERYONE WHO SUFFERS WITH THIS CRUEL disability they are not fun?. HOW DARE THEY SUGGEST THIS. absolutely fuming!. have they heard of discrimination against a disability obviously not. who will they make fun off next week will it be someone else to get a cheap laugh.

    • uktvreviewer says:

      I lost interest in ‘Pat & Cabbage’ after the first episode (I watched two minutes of the second but thought it was so pathetic that I had to switch off), so therefore didn’t see last night’s. From what you’ve described, however, that seems disgraceful, and I’m sorry that you and your daughter were so upset by it. Have you considered complaining to ITV? You can find out how to contact them here http://www.itv.com/contactus/get-in-touch/

      I’ve just had a quick look at Twitter, too, and you’re right: there are many sufferers who are angry about the representation. Hopefully ITV or the programme makers will apologise – not that it will excuse it, of course.

    • EA says:

      Well, if one tiny reference in a gentle comedy like this gets you “fuming” and insisting that “it should be taken off straight away”, you must lead a very frustrating and angry life. Keep the comment about Crohn’s in perspective – it wasn’t saying all people with Crohn’s are no fun, it was a throwaway comment about one person. I certainly didn’t watch it and think “Blimey, is that really one of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease? They’re not fun?”, and nor did it lessen my sympathy for anyone with the disease. Your comment, on the other hand, made me think that there are far too many oversensitive people out there, moaning and complaining and over-reacting about every perceived slight. There’s enough prejudice and hate in the world without you looking for it.

      Personally, I liked the show. It wasn’t a classic, but it was well-written and all the actors were good.

  8. JC says:

    I have two words for this programme: Absolutley Rubbish!1

  9. James Paterson says:

    Pat and Cabbage is a fresh and much needed addition to our tv screens. The story line is kept moving at a good pace and there are loads of avenues to take all the characters down. Deserves a second series and look forward to seeing it next year.

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