Aisling Bea has crafted a comedy gem to remember with This Way Up.
It wasn’t an easy sell, but we were sold nonetheless!
A comedy series which accurately explores mental health issues and the universal theme of loneliness… doesn’t exactly sound very funny, does it? Well, often comedy works best when it has heart; it’s arguably very easy to get a quick laugh but to ensure audiences care about what’s going on when they aren’t laughing, now that’s something.
Fortunately, 2019 has delivered a fantastic new series which pulls it off wonderfully. This Way Up began airing on Thursday, August 8th 2019 and chronicles the life of a schoolteacher named Aine (played superbly by Aisling Bea) who begins to try and take back control of her life after suffering from a bit of a breakdown.
It’s been a total hit with audiences, so let’s explore the show a little more, shall we.
Channel 4’s This Way Up: Filming locations
Across six episodes, we genuinely feel like the line between audience and Aine blurs – it’s an effectively immersive comedy.
Anyone would be hard-pressed not to identify and connect with the deeper themes of the show, as it strives to feel very real and authentic, prioritising story and character while still managing to raise a genuine laugh. It’s complex, witty, charming, and for London viewers, it’s surely even more identifiable.
The series is set in London, and it sure looks like much of it was filmed there too. Narrative is definitely prioritised over location, which sounds obvious but a number of shows sometimes try to let the surroundings do the work. One immediately recognisable area is Archway, London, which is where the rehabilitation centre was in episode one; it forms part of the London Borough of Islington.
We see pubs and interiors in the show, and actually, the former was pretty important and personal to Aisling. According to Bustle, the actress told Fabric Magazine that her favourite element of London life is the pubs, having lived in the capital herself.
It looks like they filmed at Rochester Cathedral for episode four too, located in Rochester, Kent, with the surrounding area also making an appearance.
OH MA GAWD I started filming my TV show this week. Can’t believe it. I’ve changed the name from “Happy AF” to “This Way Up” @SharonHorgan plays my sist & we’ve such an amazingly lovely crew & cast I can’t wait to tell you, yes YOU about. DREAM COME TRUE. @hellomerman #ThisWayUp pic.twitter.com/8HuLavivxe
— Aisling Bea (@WeeMissBea) January 30, 2019
Aisling Bea navigates London Life
In some ways, you could argue that This Way Up is also a show about London, not just the people who live there.
In an interview with Digital Spy, Aisling expressed: “I wanted to show the rough messiness of life in London,” while also describing the show as something “…like New Girl [the Zooey Deschanel US sitcom] but with depression.”
It’s actually a pretty great description, as it’s charming but intent to delve deeper. London was a great setting to go with; although incredibly busy at all times, Aisling comments that loneliness isn’t simply black and white. You can feel a million miles away at all times – it’s about struggling to connect, to reach out, feeling lost and much more. Loneliness is a complicated issue to explore, but the way its done here felt touchingly human at all times.
To all who have watched #ThisWayUp, thank you SO much. It’s ALL out in America NOW on @hulu If you ARE American, have ever met an American or just have a baseball cap -we’d love if it if you could spread the word – we worked our FANNIES off making it (in both the UK & US) sense. pic.twitter.com/Q02jeSMhQm
— Aisling Bea (@WeeMissBea) August 23, 2019
This Way Up: Season 2 anyone?
Safe to say, fans are more than happy to see Aine back for another crop of episodes.
As of yet, a series renewal hasn’t been confirmed. However, due to the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the first taste of the show, we’re pretty optimistic that Aisling will return with more.
It definitely feels like we’re only just getting started, and London feels that little bit more interesting when Aine’s navigating the streets. We’ll keep an eye out for updates, but for now, we hope you enjoy the six we have!
In other news, Workin’ Moms pays tribute to Stephen Bourne.