Green Wing Series 2 DVD.

Tim Miller 12/10/2006

Rating: 4/5

It's 1:40am, and I'm sitting in bed in the dark, watching - on my laptop - a man and a dumpy prostitute know. In a taxi. That is far more than you need to know, you might think, until the obvious explanation is hastily dispatched. It's episode 2 of Green Wing, Series 2, of course!

The second series of this gloriously surreal, incessantly funny and occasionally heart-breaking programme (for to define it as a genre; comedy, soap, sketch show, would be to do it an injustice, such is its coy refusal to sit between recognised television boundaries) is out to buy on DVD, and I wasted little time in snapping it up to pair with my series one. The complete boxset, annoyingly, is also out to buy.

Unsurprisingly, GW2 takes up from where GW1 left off, happily answering the cliff-hanger ending to the first series in typically bizarre fashion. In a first episode punctuated by Mac's peculiar coma dreams (featuring bare-chested fireplace wrestling, and space ship command decks), we learn that yes, the ambulance did fall, but no, no one died. Which is great news, because it means three of the most appealing characters in Green Wing (Dr. 'Mac' MacCartney (Julian Rhind-Tutt), Guy Secretan (Stephen Mangan) and Martin Dear (Karl Theobald)) are all alive and well, bar a slight term of memory loss for Mac once he wakes from his coma.

The memory loss is actually a stroke of half-genius by the writers, providing the perfect (if a little cheeky) way of spinning out the Mac/Caroline love story for a second series. If you thought the first series offered more than enough if onlys, not quites and genuinely touching but faintly depressing moments in the growing love between these two, you ain't seen nothing yet. Mac's memory loss (he recognises Caroline (Tamsin Greig), on waking from his coma, only as 'the new girl') means they have to start again. From the very beginning. Which gives Guy a fresh, level playing field from which to move in…

And that's not to mention Mac's ex-girlfriend of 6 years, returning out of the blue. With their son.

Away from the Mac and Caroline storyline, though, there's more crazy and unpredictable happenings in a place where, of all places, you'd hope such things would never happen. The hospital corridors of the Green Wing are what Holby City would seem like coming off the back of a bad LSD trip. The ever-fantastic Olivia Coleman as ditzy mum (of-how many?) Harriet, begins to find love away from her loveless marriage. Joanna Clore (Pippa Haywood) has aged years and reached new levels of stress having found out the identity of her second son - and slept with him. Puerile yet somehow a senior member of staff, the unbalanced, stammering Dr. Statham (Mark Heap) returns even more sexually fanatic, hopelessly incompetent and borderline insane than before. And Michelle Gomez practically steals the show as the child-minded schemer and unhelpful, heartless staff liaison officer, Sue White (watch out for the brilliant, brilliant LED display scene).

That's without mentioning appearances from major comedy names like Oliver Chris, Sarah Alexander and Sally Philips, the latter pair of course from the pioneering sketch show 'Smack The Pony'.

Green Wing, though, is not quite a sketch show, although it started life intending to be. It's not quite a comedy, though every episode will have you doubled up, gasping for breath. It's not even a full on soap opera, although the gut-wrenching twists and turns in the increasingly triangular love story this series puts many earnest soaps to shame. Green Wing is all, and none of these things. Undoubtedly the greater sum of its parts, it's clear why Green Wing's second series hammers home the belief that this is one of the best programmes to come out of Channel 4 this decade. From perfectly delivered performances to scalpel-sharp writing, belly laughs to tears, the eight episodes Green Wing series 2 is, quite simply a must-see, a must-have.

Experience the rollercoaster of emotions this series throws at you, just in time for the final dramatic twist that will close the book on this fabulous programme - in utterly unique style - this Christmas…