The primary school Christmas production, featuring Vinnie’s son Tyler as Herod, is in jeopardy due to vandals destroying the set. Vinnie, his beloved Erin (played by Michelle Keegan who clearly had other filming commitments), and their gang of layabouts scramble to secure replacement props and scenery, determined to ensure the show goes on. However, their initial efforts fall short, leading them to do what they do best. Nick it. However, Vinny also takes on the task of looking after Edie (Imelda Staunton) and the two become unlikely housemates.
Set in the gritty environs of small-town Lancashire, complete with run-down pubs, lock-ups, and covert wartime bunkers now used for growing marijuana, “Brassic” has always maintained an element of the surreal. Throughout its five raucous seasons, this irreverent yet surprisingly insightful comedy centered around the unpredictable Vinnie (played by Joe Gilgun) and his eclectic chosen family of thrill-seekers and hustlers, has consistently embraced a larger-than-life approach, occasionally pushing the boundaries of reality. Perhaps the constant exposure to second-hand weed smoke has played a part in this.
Thus, when “A Very Brassic Christmas” unfolds with a scene featuring a robed Joseph and a heavily pregnant Mary searching for shelter, the New Testament echoes don’t feel entirely out of place.
As Mary and Joseph seek refuge at the nearest farmhouse, it becomes apparent where and when this tale is set. The cantankerous farmer Jim (portrayed by Steve Evets), with his white beard, gruff demeanour, and penchant for profanity, channels the spirit of Bad Santa after a wild night out as he confronts the expectant parents and their donkey to f*ck off.
Blending the traditional nativity story with colourful language is a classic Brassic twist. However, Joe Gilgun and co-creator Danny Brocklehurst recognise the uplifting power of Christmas and aim to infuse their unique exuberance into the holiday.
This festive special for the uproarious comedy series Brassic boasts two great star cameos, but none shine brighter than Imelda Staunton. Her performance brings a delightful grace and warmth to the show’s scenes.
In this extended episode, Vinnie finds himself at a stranger’s doorstep. His constantly lustful GP, Dr Chris (played by Dominic West, who is literally phoning it in, is off partying in the sun with his latest conquest, leaving Aunt Edie needing assistance after a fall. Despite her initial reservations about Vinnie’s neck tattoos and constant vaping, Edie soon realises the unconventional stranger could be of help.
Consequently, Vinnie temporarily moves in to aid the retired teacher through the Christmas season, even though she claims to despise Christmas due to being estranged from her two sons.
The show truly hits its madcap stride when the gang sets their sights on the Winter Wonderland operated by the narcissistic and frustrated actor Dick Dolphin (Greg Davies).
Farmer Jim is eager to join the action, believing a Santa lookalike could be an asset to the heist. Yet, Vinnie hesitates at first. “When have I ever messed up one of your jobs?” Fans of the show will know how often he does.
As is customary with the Brassic gang, nothing goes quite to plan leading to some on-the-spot improvisation and an impromptu rap by Ashley.
Joe Gilgun and Danny Brocklehurst recognise that an actor of the quality of Imelda Staunton shouldn’t be wasted, and it isn’t. Brassic has always been full of heart, but Edie’s story lends another dimension.
In a clever use of the extended runtime, Edie, a character with a bohemian past, hidden secrets, and even an actual mummy in her attic, embarks on her own character arc. The awkward and endearing moments shared between Gilgun and Staunton during their house-sharing experience are truly exceptional.
In a Christmas TV schedule a little light on humour, Brassic is a welcome breath of fresh air.
A Very Brassic Christmas is available to stream on NOW TV.