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CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Father Dougal and Mrs Doyle… a marriage that’ll break your TV set 

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Father Dougal and Mrs Doyle… a marriage that’ll break your TV set

Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything

Rating: ****

I’m An Alcoholic: Inside Recovery

Rating:  ***

Some things are just wrong. Father Christmas should never wear tweed. Jeremy Clarkson mustn’t publish a vegan cookbook.

And on no account can Father Dougal marry Mrs Doyle.

The very idea of Ardal O’Hanlon and Pauline McLynn, the priestly dimwit and the neurotic housekeeper from Father Ted, as a couple is deeply disturbing. It’s almost incestuous, and certainly against all of Ireland’s laws. But here they are as Conall and Win, the endlessly forgiving parents of Sheridan Smith in Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything (Sky Comedy).

Though they had only one scene together in the opening episode, the duo stole the show — and that takes some doing when Sheridan is playing a party girl at full volume.

As Rosie, Sheridan careers through the plot in varying stages of drunkenness and drug-fuelled lunacy

Conall has just been diagnosed with a dodgy ticker. He could keel over at any moment, especially since he has no intention of quitting fags or booze.

Told that a £30,000 heart transplant could save him, he looks horrified. ‘I am not worth 30 grand. Sure, look at the state of us.’

But Conall is intent on seeing his son Joey get married, though Win is worried about the ban on alcohol for the big day: ‘A dry wedding? How will people fight?’

In the end, Rosie drinks, snorts and smokes enough for everyone . . . before blacking out and ending up in hospital.

All the characters revolve around her — the debauched flatmate, the judgmental sister-in-law, the hero-worshipping pal and the smooth-talking colleague who makes a convenient friend-with-benefits.

As Rosie, Sheridan careers through the plot in varying stages of drunkenness and drug-fuelled lunacy. When she’s high at work, she believes in her own invincibility: ‘They don’t fire people with lovely little faces. Plus, I accidentally ticked the “gender fluid” box. Untouchable!’

In the end, Rosie drinks, snorts and smokes enough for everyone . . . before blacking out and ending up in hospital

In the end, Rosie drinks, snorts and smokes enough for everyone . . . before blacking out and ending up in hospital

It’s a fearless performance, given her off-screen struggles and the rumours that swirled around her unexplained absences during the West End show Funny Girl in 2016.

One moment of aggression in a pub was mesmerising: fixing a pious yoga teacher with a basilisk glare, Rosie picked up a bottle of white wine and drank it all down, slowly, never taking her lips off the bottleneck or her eyes off the camera.

But she knows she can’t carry on like this much longer. ‘I need someone,’ she pleads, ‘to tell me how to give up everything.’

That’s a cry of desperation often heard at AA meetings. And I’m An Alcoholic: Inside Recovery (BBC2) told how one man stood up to announce: ‘I will pay £1million to anyone who can cure me of drinking.’ The group of recovering addicts promised to help the man all they could, for free — but he’d have to do the hard work of abstinence himself.

This moving one-off documentary featured heartfelt stories from ex-drinkers, their faces digitally disguised, of how the Alcoholics Anonymous support network had given them strength. But it failed to address the greatest criticism of AA’s opponents — that no one can start its ‘12-step programme’ without admitting that they are powerless to beat booze alone.

That doesn’t recognise the role of self-reliance and willpower. Some people need the reassurance that they can stay sober through determination. It also placed a lot of emphasis on the depths of alcoholic shame — such as the recently married man who started every day drinking under the duvet.

There’s a serious risk that some viewers will take false courage from that, knowing that however much they drink, they haven’t reached that stage yet.

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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