l-r: Maurice (Julian Barratt) and Deborah (Olivia Colman)
Julian Barratt and Olivia Colman, ‘Flowers’, Monday

Flowers (Channel 4, Monday, 10pm) returns for a second series and it’s a mark of its oddness that The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barratt plays one of the less flamboyant characters, blocked children’s writer Maurice Flowers. Beloved Olivia Colman is making a speciality of playing unpleasant women: Deborah Flowers has written a book about living with a depressive husband, published with a cover featuring a woman and children cowering beneath a monster. Harriet Walter plays Hylda, a lesbian vicar (in TV land, is there any other kind?), with tattoos and a gruff Yorkshire accent. She’s living in bliss with Deborah and Maurice’s daughter Amy (Sophia Di Martino), who, having been struck by lightning, is possibly excused her wild, bug-eyed febrility (also known as overacting). When not wailing “We are a cursed household!” she’s playing unlistenable music with her all-female band. Her misogynist twin Donald (Daniel Rigby) is an angry plumber with delusions of grandeur.

Writer Will Sharpe is nothing if not imaginative, with the storyline rushing about every which way, including into the past (same cast, Expressionist lighting, large wigs). Sharpe, who is half-Japanese, plays Shun, Maurice’s silly illustrator. Shun is too idiosyncratic to be a racial stereotype, despite his inability to digest alcohol or pronounce his employer’s name (“Mr Frah!”). He’s somewhat annoying, though, and the scene where Shun is dragged out of a restaurant by his ankles is as satisfying for us as it must have been fun for Sharpe.

★★★☆☆

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