Starring Julian Barratt and admire by Paul Thomas Anderson, Flowers is grotesque, surreal – and part of a new wave of TV exploring mental health
In the very first minutes of the sitcom Flowers, Julian Barratt’s character, Maurice, a depressed children’s author, ties a noose to a tree, slips it around his neck and jumps from a chair. The branch snaps almost immediately. “Fuck’s sake,” he grumbles and trudges back inside.
That first series, broadcast two years ago, was bolstered by an extraordinary cast including Olivia Colman (soon to play Elizabeth II in The Crown) and Daniel Rigby, who won a Bafta playing Eric Morecambe. Bold and grotesque, it had the feel of a grown-up fairytale, a strange, sad and often very funny story of depression and family dysfunction.
“I signed up having read the scripts and finding them brilliant,” says Barratt, who spends much of the second series dealing with the aftermath of the first – and wearing running shorts. “It’s not a standard sitcom.”