Free Agents (2009)
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Episode #1.6 

Alex and Helen's relationship issues come to a head at Stephen's latest wedding.


James Griffiths


Chris Niel


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Episode cast overview:
Stephen Mangan ... Alex Taylor
Sharon Horgan ... Helen Ryan
Anthony Head ... Stephen Caudwell
Matthew Holness ... Dan Mackey
Sara Pascoe ... Emma Phillips
Stephanie Beacham ... Wendy
Dolly Wells ... Sarah
Cheryl Alleyne Cheryl Alleyne ... Therapist
Ross Gurney-Randall Ross Gurney-Randall ... Security Guard
Martina Laird Martina Laird
Jonah Lees ... Tom
Noah Marullo ... Billy
Chris Obi ... Taxi Rank Guy (as Christopher Obi)


Stephen introduces Alex to Wendy,a very superior brothel madam who is to be his latest wife and asks him to be his best man. Helen,still mourning Pete,is turned away from the graveyard at three in the morning and,after considering leaving her job and flat,goes to see a therapist. Alex meanwhile agrees to move in with Sarah,supposedly as a platonic lodger but things happen. At the wedding this time it is Helen who pursues Alex,claiming that they are ideally suited. They kiss before being shouted abuse at by Alex's son. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama



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User Reviews

Season 1: Does more than just deliver laughs due to foul language and deserves a chance to try and develop again in a second season
12 April 2009 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

After a one night stand between colleagues Alex and Helen, thinks immediately get awkward, not helped at all by Alex's uncanny ability to say the wrong thing or suggest the wrong motivations for his actions. It doesn't help that he is going through a divorce and needs somewhere to sleep or that Helen is grieving on the one year anniversary of her husband's death. When all his other options are exhausted, Helen then allows Alex to move into her spare room, despite the oddness of the whole thing, and this uneasy partnership is the core of both their very messy personal and professional lives.

Free Agents was done as a pretty good pilot a year or so ago and it was one of the Comedy Showcase pilots and also one of the ones commissioned to have a season proper. Having been disappointed by Plus One already, I approached with caution but found that the first season was actually pretty good. Much like the pilot the overall plot is centred around Alex and Helen's uneasy "relationship" while episode-by-episode we have the issues associated with the other parts of their personal lives. OK so it doesn't sound great but it is written with this constant air of rude exaggeration that gives it an air of being adult while also being childish. It is hard to describe but it is not just that the show uses bad language and sexual comedy to get laughs, it is that it does it with a certain creativity and wit that makes it work.

It is still a sitcom though and I didn't find it hilariously funny – but I don't think you are meant to be rolling in the aisle since it is not a sketch show. The plots are mostly OK but the central relationship and the two main characters make it interesting. Both Alex and Helen are both interesting comical characters with real bitter edges that brings an edge to the material. Mangan is good here as he turns in a weak-willed character and makes it funny, likewise Horgan makes her bitter and hard character into something that the audience can like and laugh with. It is the credit of the show that Head dominates less than he did in the pilot – and I liked that we saw a bit of reality in his character, behind all the rude bravado. There are several good supporting roles (including a small turn from Holness) but my personal favourite were the sister of the deceased boyfriend, and her husband, both of who are very funny characters (I forget their names).

Overall, Free Agents is a solid sitcom that does more than just deliver laughs due to foul language. It deserves a chance to try and develop again and I do hope that it returns for a second series.

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Release Date:

20 March 2009 (UK) See more »

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