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Year of The Rabbit – Review

Everything you need to know about the Channel 4 show

Tue, August 27th, 2019

Year of The Rabbit by name alone sounds like something set in China, referring to the Chinese zodiac. But it is in fact a spoof police drama which will have viewers confused but entertained – imagine your favourite police drama with a comedic twist and you have Year of the Rabbit. So, what is it about? Who is the cast? We have all of the information below so keep reading.

The police spoof is set in Victorian London and centers around street gangs, crooked politicians, Bulgarian princes, spiritualists, music hall stars and the Elephant Man.  An odd collection of topic matters but one that Channel 4 will collect together to create an eccentric comedy. The inspiration for the dramedy comes from Scotland Yard’s emerging Murder Squad. The show will be set in the 1880s during the time of Jack the Ripper while he was going through his terrifying slew of brutal murders, scaring everyone who lived in that time.

The screenplay is the art-child of Kevin Cecil and Andrew Riley who worked on other comedies such as Black Books and Veep. Lead Matt Berry also worked together with the writers to bring some extra material to the table. He is quoted as saying he was looking forward to stepping back in time to fight crime in the significant year which bought us Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, The Elephant Man and of course Jack The Ripper.

The lead is Detective Inspector Rabbit who is portrayed by Matt Berry, described by Channel 4 as a hardened booze-hound who’s seen it all alongside partner Wilbur Strauss who is portrayed by Freddie Fox. Strauss will be different from Rabbit as he is more by-the-books than his Detective. To bring together the trio together is Mabel Wisbech portrayed  by Susan Wokoma. Wisbech is the adopted daughter of the chief of police but more than that, she is the country’s first official female police officer.

Joining the cast is the star of Bodyguard, Line of Duty and The Durrells, Keeley Hawes. She will be taking on the role of cryptic Lydia.

Joining the Year of The Rabbit cast alongside Keeley Hawes is star of Smack the Pony and Miranda, Sally Phillips who will be playing Princess Juliana of Bulgaria.

Year of the Rabbit - channel 4

Last but not least is soap superstar, Jill Halfpenny who will be portraying Inspector Rabbit’s ex, ‘the deadly Flora’. Other guest stars include Alun Armstrong (New Tricks) as Chief Inspector Wisbech, Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones) as enemy to Inspector Rabbit DI Tanner alongside Craig Parkinson (Line of Duty), David Dawson (Ripper Street), Ann Mitchell (Widows), Alistair Petrie (Sex Education) and finally Matthew Holness (Darkplace).

One of the most exciting cameos on the horizon is Taika Waititi, Oscar-nominated actor and director of Marvel’s Thor Ragnarok where he played the classic Korg who was an audience-favourite. He previously worked with lead Berry on What We Do In The Shadows where Waititi portrayed a vampire. He is now returning to his old co-star to bring his own unique style to the comedy, however the details of his character are still unknown. The director has taken on his own dark comedy project delving into the world of WWII where he will be portraying Adolf Hitler. Berry has said that Waititi would ‘take on anything’ so it will be interesting to see how outlandish his performance is.

The Year of The Rabbit story begins with Detective Inspector Rabbit being assigned a new partner by Chief Inspector Wisbech – his partner is the newly graduated Wilbur Strauss. The polar opposites of their personalities already lends itself to many shenanigans ahead which promise to nod towards the trope favourites of police dramas in a comedic way. The problem for Rabbit only continues when Mabel Wisbech, daughter of his boss, is determined to earn the title of the first female police officer and will do whatever it takes to ensure she officially joins the team.

In order to prove herself, the team of three all tackle crime from street gangs to royalty to the Elephant Man. Along the way, they come across some of the interesting characters that we mentioned above who will no doubt bring their own twists to the tale. Even though there are historical characters that we all know mentioned throughout the show, it doesn’t promise that it has any actual historical accuracy to it. The language used throughout the dialogue is modern with filthy words and elements of the fantastical such as Rabbit’s multicoloured truncheon. The show is intentionally created to look budget without much research which the writers hope will add even more charm to it.

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