Henpocalypse! review – BBC Two comedy

Be warned, said Anita Singh in The Daily Telegraph: the opening of “Henpocalypse!” (BBC Two) may put you off. “Imagine being trapped on a stranger’s hen do, complete with screeching women, straws in the shape of penises, and a sozzled bride-to-be enthusiastically dry-humping a male stripper”, all set to the sound of Tom Jones’s “Sex Bomb”. But if you can take it, don’t switch off, as the series improves considerably when the action cuts to nine weeks later. 

An epidemic of “crab measles” has decimated the male population, and our hen party – including Callie Cooke’s “put-upon chief bridesmaid” – is stranded in a Welsh Airbnb. What follows is a “bawdy comedy” in which five women deal “with the end of the world while navigating familiar hen-do group dynamics”. Some might find the language “a bit coarse”, but writer Caroline Moran (sister of Caitlin) has “an eye for absurd details”, and the characters become more likeable as the series goes on. 

The trouble is, none of it is “actually very funny”, said Francesca Steele in The i Paper. I feel it may be “a bit early” for some of the pandemic jokes (a Chris Whitty type dies at his lectern). Yet it’s neither genuinely outrageous, nor committed enough to its characters to be carried along by them. It’s “a pink, penisparaphernalia-strewn mess”. 

With its endless sex references, “Henpocalypse!” does feel “a little try-hard”, as if Moran is “channelling an adolescent desperate to shock”, said Jude Rogers in The Observer. Still, when it “takes a breath and calms down”, it becomes really rather “affecting”.

Where to watch: BBC iPlayer