As much as Peter wants to keep to himself, other issues keep getting in the way. He has a fixed routine: getting up, driving to work, ferrying people to Dunkirk or donkey sanctuaries, driving back home, returning to bed.
But it’s never that simple. He has a layabout daughter (Erin Kellyman) who’s resistant to finding a job, a mother suffering from dementia (Marcia Warren) and an endlessly irritating co-driver (Danny Kirrane) who loves boasting about his sexual exploits.
As much as Peter (Toby Jones) wants to keep to himself, other issues keep getting in the way
Writers Toby Jones and Tim Crouch unfold Peter’s story as slowly as possible, capturing the monotony of his life, whilst also capturing the hilarity of that tedium. A lot of it comes from the Brits in his coach, who are some of the most boring people in existence. And Peter definitely knows it. There's a hilarious moment in episode two where, after visiting the donkey sanctuary, the trip organiser earnestly says: ‘What a stimulating visit!’
Peter starts with very little backbone – he's clearly been trampled over all his life and always been taken advantage of. He grows tired of his own problems and often runs away from other people’s. At the beginning of episode one, he walks along a pebble beach where a dead body has arrived from the water. He is quick to run away from that potential headache, preferring his stale and oblivious way of life.
But, as the series continues, his confidence rises and his anxious fears about interfering are slowly chipped away. And when he finds an unexpected passenger hiding in his coach's innards, this sparks a new desire to stick his neck out.
Erin Kellyman (Les Misérables) plays Peter's layabout daughter
Don’t Forget the Driver has been promoted as a Brexit comedy, but it’s more subtle than that – not wearing the zeitgeist on its sleeve like the excellent Channel 4 comedy Home. Jones and Crouch create a calm atmosphere of hidden horrors and Little England prejudices, which slowly float through Peter’s life like plastic bags along the seafront. At first, he ignores these problems, but soon reaches an exhilarating point where he just says: 'B******* to it'.
Unlike other shows that revel in monotony (like The Office), Don’t Forget the Driver doesn’t want every moment filled with something silly or mortifying. It's a show that’s peaceful to watch, while possessing a softly existential and political poignance. And Peter deserves an audience. Maybe if there were more everyday heroes like him, the world would be a better place.
Don't Forget the Driver airs Tuesdays at 10pm on BBC Two
|What||Don't Forget the Driver, BBC review|
09 Apr 19 – 09 Apr 20, 10:00 PM – 10:30 PM