On The Small Screen Reviews

The Rebel – Review

Audiences know Simon Callow as a gentlemen of screen and stage. The English actor has appeared in a number of popular films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral as well as Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Jumping from the big screen to the small and then onto the stage again, Callow is truly a versatile talent.

For his latest outing, The Rebel, he takes the lead as an enraged and rebellious pensioner living in the trendy city of Brighton. I was lucky enough to view the first episode of the new series. The comedy may centre on a man in his sixties but this is a show with youth rebellion at its heart.

The show revolves around Henry Palmer (Callow), living alone after the passing of his wife. Feeling ignored by those around him and board with the disrespect from the youth of today. Palmer decides to go a bit rogue; ignoring the rules, saying whatever he thinks, and challenging his concerned daughter who thinks he should live in a retirement home. His rash actions land him in trouble with the law but have hilarious consequences for those around him and the town of Brighton where he dwells.


The show has been commissioned by UKTV Gold as part of its new initiative to create original and interesting new content. Created and written by Andrew Birch, the series began life as a comic strip in a magazine. Birch, who had written sitcoms for many years, finally decided to expand his cartoon and create the up and coming series The Rebel.

The first episode in the new series introduces us to the world of Henry Palmer. He lives in the trendy city of Brighton surrounded by the young who consistently infuriate him with their lack of respect and treatment of the elderly. After the loss of his wife Henry, begins to rebel against the world. The young boys who skim past him on skateboards, the police officer who stops him chasing a thief and assumes he is the trouble maker.

Situational humour, such as Henry beating up a police officer with a teddy bear or joy riding a shopping trolley into a wall, are a large part of the shows appeal. Palmer is a truly liberated character who says the things most people would not dream of saying out load. This free spirited nature not only makes the show a treat to watch but makes audiences root for the character.

In a country where the needs and desires of those over a certain age are arguable ignored, the show, despite its brilliant comedy, makes an interesting point.

Simon Callow is an amazing actor. Whether on stage or on screen his presence is always felt in main or side roles. Here Callow fully throws himself into the rebellious role of Henry. He swears non-stop, acts ou,  but even in this brief first episode, you understand where such frustration comes from. This really is a great example of how to grow old disgracefully.

A funny, witty and well-acted sitcom with nothing but potential from the get go, Callow’s Henry Palmer is either destined for stardom or a very cult status at least.




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